Building Toward a Big Bang: 2018 QBs, WRs Offer Potential to Open Up Virginia Tech Offense

3,000-plus word film breakdown of Hokies signees Quincy Patterson, DeJuan Ellis, Tre Turner, James Mitchell, and Darryle Simmons.

[@SolorioSports]

Throughout the 2017 season, Virginia Tech's offense was often bogged down due to their inability to generate big plays. Without a consistent source of explosive plays, the Hokies were reliant on grinding out long drives via a short pass plus rush attack.

Unfortunately, throughout most of the season Josh Jackson did not present much of a run threat. That limited Tech's ground game because the possibility of Jackson to carry wasn't enough to tie up an extra defender in the box. Combine that with the inability of Tech's receivers to generate significant yards after the catch, and it caused drives to stall. The Hokies approached reliable generating first downs when on schedule (No. 38, 49.0% standard down success rate). However in third-and-long situations, the Hokies struggled mightily (No. 108, 26.9% standard down success rate).

This season Justin Fuente and Brad Cornelsen will have more playmakers at their disposal who can take the top off the defense, and produce more garbage yards on simple short throws and screens. Virginia Tech's 2018 recruiting class includes potential game breakers at quarterback and wide receiver that should help make the Hokies' offense more explosive.

Patience with Patterson Will Pay Big Dividends

Perhaps no recruit has sparked more intrigue in this class than 4-star quarterback Quincy Patterson. Patterson's story is awesome. He was selected to the Elite 11 and participated in the prestigious Opening. Patterson actively recruiting his peers and his strong academic credentials have made him an immediate favorite with Hokie Nation.

While the hype around his arm strength and athleticism is warranted, the 6-4, 229 pound Chicago product is still very raw mechanically. When I reviewed his film, I focused on any improvement from his junior to senior season in order to understand how much progress he made.

Right off the bat I noticed Patterson was much more comfortable throwing into tight spots, thanks in large part to increased velocity on the football. Patterson's arm strength improved significantly. He does a very good job of using his shoulders to set up safeties. When he steps into his throws, he can make every pass required of Cornelsen's offense.

Solorio Academy utilizes a run-first spread option offense, similar to Tech's scheme. Patterson was relied on extensively to execute inverted veers, counters, and read options. Patterson does a great job of creating a mesh point and selling the running back keep before he pulls the ball. As you can see on this inside zone read, the edge defender is in perfect position to tackle Patterson for a loss. However, Patterson sells the dive well enough that the edge defender bites on the fake. Moreover, Patterson has the quickness to get to the outside.

Patterson's size will be an asset. He runs with a little bit of a hunch and protects the ball well. Cornelsen loves to run the quarterback in short yardage and Patterson will be well suited in that role. I don't think Patterson is as much of a game-breaking threat as Hendon Hooker on the ground. However, by comparison of their senior film Patterson looks physically ready to handle more carries.

As previously mentioned, Patterson is a work in progress. His passing mechanics, especially under pressure, are highlighted by inexperience. He has a habit of "hopping" to throw the ball when he is under duress. He is remarkably accurate in those situations. However, the loss of velocity when he hops will translate to interceptions against Power Five competition.

I love Patterson's patience in the face of the rush. Instead of trying to escape the pocket, he waits until his receiver breaks under the vertical rub route.

However, Patterson doesn't get away from center after receiving the shotgun snap. This makes the quarterback feel like he's in the pocket too long, yet doesn't allow his receiver as much time to break clear. He opens his hips to fake the screen to the field-side, but doesn't reset his feet back to the inside to throw the dig route. This forces Patterson to throw sidearm with a hop rather than step into his throw and drive the ball. His receiver is wide open, and despite and accurate throw, the ball loses some velocity. This habit, which appeared several times throughout his highlight film, will need to be broken before he can be a starting quarterback in the ACC.

The bottom line is once his mechanics improve, I believe Patterson has the potential to be an impact quarterback at Virginia Tech.

Ellis' Elite Athleticism Translates to a Multitude of Possible Roles for the Hokies

DeJuan Ellis has the elite speed and twitch to make an impact at multiple positions for the Hokies. The 5'11" 180 pound McDonogh School (Maryland) product was recruited as a quarterback, and he possesses good arm strength, sprinter speed (4.47 in the 40-yard dash), and terrific escapability.

Ellis makes decisive reads and gets the ball out quickly. He has a bit of an odd delivery, and throws the ball almost sidearm comparable to Doug Flutie. Also similar to Flutie, Ellis can really spin the rock. The velocity and accuracy on this deep post demonstrates how Ellis can chuck the football.

And consider that throw is against DeMatha, which from a talent perspective is one of the more P5-rich programs in the region.

As solid as Ellis is as a passer, his stature will make it difficult to see open receivers in the pocket. He also has a habit of dropping the football down around his waist when he scrambles. That is not a good practice with a head coach who values ball security as much as Fuente.

Ellis's lack of size as a runner could limit his effectiveness on power-type plays. Should he remain at quarterback, expect the Hokies' offense with him in the game to heavily feature split zone and zone reads where Ellis can get to the edge. On those types of quarterback runs, Ellis is dynamic.

He is elusive in a phonebooth. And again, note that he is completely outflanking a DeMatha defense laden with Power 5 talent.

I had the opportunity to watch Greg Stroman play quarterback at Stonewall Jackson HS. As I watch Ellis run, it is hard not to immediately recall Stroman at the same age darting around as a quarterback. Like Stroman, Ellis has terrific short range quickness. He bends and turns his hips at an elite level, and based on his film I think Ellis has even better straight line speed than Stroman.

With that said, Ellis could be a dangerous slot receiver who is deadly on jet sweeps (especially since opponents know he is a threat to throw the football, which takes a safety out of run support). Ellis could be an outstanding punt returner. However, I am going to go out on a limb and say that Ellis could have an NFL future at cornerback if he and the coaching staff see that as an avenue to see the field. With his talent, I expect Ellis to find a role somewhere on the field sooner rather than later.

Turner Poised to Replicate Isaiah Ford's Immediate Impact

Tre Turner represents Fuente's efforts to procure a big wide receiver that can high point the football on vertical routes and be effective in the screen game. Turner, rated as a four-star WR by the 247Sports Composite (0.9273), has a 6-2, 177 pound frame and by my eye can easily play 20 pounds heavier without losing any explosiveness. He missed most of his senior season with a shoulder injury and enrolled early in an attempt to break the wide receiver rotation as a true freshman.

As a junior, Turner's body control impressed me. He has a knack for attacking and high pointing the football in traffic.

The poor play design above brings the free safety into a position to support over the top (via the motion) against Turner's vertical route. Turner times his leap beautifully to snag the ball and pull it down under the attempt by the free safety to dislodge it. As I wrote shortly after Turner committed at the end of May, that is a catch that harkens to Isaiah Ford.

The pass structure Turner played in at Northwest Guilford HS wasn't sophisticated and he rarely faced P5 caliber bump-and-run coverage. Turner takes some false steps off the line of scrimmage which cause him to take a little more time to get into his route. Against press defenders who are similarly sized, the lack of efficiency off the line could mess up the timing of routes such as the slant off of a play-action fake that has been a staple of Fuente's offense.

The following is a play that exemplifies some of those bad habits with equally good nuance to Turner's game. From a trips formation, Turner rubs off the vertical route by the outside slot receiver.

When Turner gets off the LOS, it's not at full speed. If the quarterback's first read is to the flat, Turner's lack of a vertical threat creates less space for the inside slot receiver breaking outside. However, while many receivers would break inside and run back into coverage, Turner does a terrific job to find and sit down in the soft spot of the zone. This is a nice instinctual play. After the catch, it's clear Turner brings an explosive ability to run that few of the Hokies' receivers exhibited last season.

Turner also excels in the outside screen game. The Hokies' wide receiver screen game was not featured as much as I expected last season, in large part because of the mix of poor blocking and a young receiver group that wasn't terrific at generating yards after the catch.

The one wide receiver screen that was consistently effective was the tunnel screen back to the inside. On the following tunnel screen, Turner sells the vertical fade first. Not only does Turner threaten the cushion of the corner, he also draws the safety to fly outside. Turner sharply changes direction and breaks behind his wall of offensive linemen for the touchdown.

There isn't much footage of Turner blocking. However, then-Northwest Guilford coach Jared Rolfes is high on his ability and Turner noted an enthusiasm for blocking in an interview with The Key Play.

"He's a physical blocker and that will get him on the field faster," the coach said. "That's half the battle with college recruits. He's got the makeup to be something special. He reminds me of Isaiah Ford, just a hair taller."

I concur with Rolfe's assessment. Turner is a special talent. A fully healed shoulder plus a full winter of the strength and conditioning program as well as a healthy spring should prime Turner for an immediate role this season.

James Mitchell's Size Creates Matchup Problems Outside

James Mitchell is one of the recruits I had a chance to watch in person. However, it was on the basketball court (at the Arby's Classic Basketball Tournament). While he was recruited by tight end coach James Shibest, I expect that Mitchell will align regularly on the outside, much like the Hokies used Bucky Hodges.

At 6'4", 227, Mitchell — a low 4-star (0.8904) recruit per the 247Sports Composite — isn't quite the physical mismatch that the 6-7 Hodges presented against typical-sized corners. Mitchell received limited touches as a wideout at Union HS and I expect him to take some time to develop as a route runner. He will need to be a more effective route runner than Hodges to take take advantage size mismatches against the secondary and LBs. He will be taller than most corners he faces, but he isn't an overwhelming mismatch (e.g. Hodges) to neglect technical details.

On the basketball court, Mitchell was outstanding at high-pointing the ball and bringing down rebounds. Because of an injury to Union's quarterback, Mitchell was forced to serve behind center in a wildcat/single-wing role as the primary ball carrier. With what little footage is available of Mitchell as a wide receiver (and defending passes on defense) Mitchell shows how effectively he attacks and high points the football.

Despite his athleticism, Hodges at times struggled to high point the football on vertical routes. Hodges also was not particularly effective as a runner after the catch. Mitchell was a big play threat in high school as both a wildcat quarterback and as a punt returner. With his size, strength, and surprisingly good speed, he should be dangerous as a player who can turn short gains into chunk yardage.

Mitchell's lack of experience in a sophisticated passing game coupled with not enrolling early to reap the benefit of the spring practices will likely limit his early impact. Besides route running and visual adjustments at the line of scrimmage, no signee faces a bigger leap in the level of competition than Mitchell. The speed of the game will go up exponentially for him.

Don't Sleep on Darryle Simmons

Darryle Simmons is an incoming freshman who has received very little attention and fanfare. The 6-3, 200 pound 247Sports Composite three-star (0.8824) wide receiver from Philadelphia missed his entire senior season with a torn Achilles tendon and will not be on campus for spring football. As result, he has flown under the radar.

Although, Simmons deserves more attention. He is arguably the most refined receiver of the class in terms of his route running and getting in and out of cuts. He reminds me of Eric Kumah coming out of high school. Simmons, like Kumah, is a very polished route runner and projected as a solid possession receiver at split end.

Simmons isn't a guy who is going to make spectacular catches with tremendous athleticism. He doesn't appear to be an explosive leaper and runs with a bit of a robotic gate. However, he makes up for his lack of explosiveness with good technique. For example, on this fade route, Simmons runs his route a little to the inside to allow a little extra room on the sideline. By creating that extra room and pinning his defender to the inside, Simmons makes a very difficult catch look easy.

Simmons looks most comfortable on many of the routes where Kumah was productive last year, particularly slants and crossing routes. On this play, Simmons does a good job of working back to the quarterback when he is forced to scramble. Simmons gets very good extension and makes a high point catch.

By securing the ball away from his body, there is less of an opportunity for the defender to deflect the pass. This also causes the defender to fall out of position. Simmons turns the ball up field for more garbage yards. Because of the injury his senior year, it is difficult to project Simmons development. However, I anticipate that he will be an effective possession receiver by the end of his Virginia Tech career.

Comments

Thanks French! And Ellis drops a dime!

Year 3 is coming up!

Great stuff, thanks French!

Thanks for taking the time to do this. Lots to be excited about with this incoming group. I think we are all very interested in what role Ellis will take with our team, so many options. I have high hopes that there is a place in our offense for him to be a playmaker. With Turner and Simmons, it's always interesting to see which receivers adjust well (and quickly) to the college game. I have really high hopes Turner can be an instant impact kind of guy, so hopefully his recovery has been going well.

The nice thing is that VT has some flexibility (especially if Farley ends up back at wide receiver, which I hope he will) to allow these guys to grow up. It looks like Turner is still in a non-contact shirt that has limited in winter workouts. While he has the ability to step on the field right away, the need for WRs to block and the influx of Hazelton means that he will have to blow people away to make an immediate impact.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Great write up as always! Between the guys we signed this class and the emergence of guys like Kumah, Grimsley, and Savoy last year, we seem to be better stocked at WR than we have in many years. Agree with what you said regarding Simmons being the most polished of the incoming group, hopefully he can use the redshirt year to get his body healed up and learn the offense because it seems to me he has the technique to contribute as soon as he is physically able and knows the offense.

That's a pretty exciting set of players. Fast forward three years and it will be a phenomenal core to our offense.

I hope so. They have to establish someone who can consistently take the top off the defense. Bryce Thompson looked awesome in the Carolina Shrine Bowl. He was behind the defense all game long. I hate that things did not work out for him and VT.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Unfortunately for Bryce it looks like things won't work out for him at USCe either. Remember when everyone got mad at me for saying grades are an issue?

Why would people get mad?

Would you ever lie to us? lol

Keep calm, Gobble on

People downvote things they don't want to hear. Also, commenting about grades can be intended to be informative but be interpreted by others as dismissive, malicious, or insulting towards a kid.

Speculating about a recruit's grades or character is not a good look, and generally should not be done if the recruit has not mentioned it themselves. If you are not absolutely sure of your source you are defaming someone we would like to come here - even if you preface it with "I heard a rumor that." If you are sure of your source, but the recruit has not acknowledged it, and it is not "public" knowledge, you are still better off waiting until the athlete is no longer a VT recruit before sharing why. It is not whether the information is true, its about how appropriate it is to discuss in a public forum. Like most things it is a gray line.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

And a very thin line at that. I don't remember specifically how it went down with Bryce and LAhokie, so I'll use a generic example, but if I know that Virginia Tech recruit X is not likely to qualify academically, how do I handle that information? I could (a) post a comment stating that there's a good chance that they may not be coming here, and decline to elaborate when pressed, or (b) post a comment that grades are an issue. Either way, people are going to get riled up, at least a little. It's one of those damned if you do, damned if you don't issues.

The Poster Formerly Known As The Spirit Of Bernard Basham

I am not sure you get anybody riled up if you don't say anything at all. The recruit puts it out there (game film, highlights, tweets, etc.) its fair game. If not, its not. I think LA does as good a job of walking the line as anyone, but anytime you draw that line different from someone else you risk a "dreaded" downvote.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

French on Ellis:

He is elusive in a phonebooth.

😳

Stro was a great HS qb too. If Ellis converts to CB as Stro did, many good things will come.

Let's Go

HOKIES

But how many phonebooths can we reasonably expect to get on the field at one time?
Do we just engineer a tardis for Lane Stadium so that Ellis can win the heisman?
Won't this impact ticket sales as it would take fans forever to scan their tickets and enter the phonebooth/spacecraft/football stadium?

Tim Settle was built like a phone booth...

VHokie

From a strength perspective, Ellis is much more ready to play immediately than Stroman was. Greg was incredibly skinny. It is a testament to his work ethic that he was able to add the strength needed to be a good corner.

Ellis is also much better throwing the ball than Stroman was. Stroman may have been even more elusive. Every snap at his HS (especially when Big Tim was taking a series off from blocking, which was often) looked like a punt return. He made some amazing plays.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Man French, I hope you do a write-up like these for the rest of our recruits. Seeing these really put in perspective what the coaches might've seen in each of these kids. It goes beyond a star rating. The excerpts that speak to areas of improvement are all things that I think this coaching staff excel at. Thanks for all the work you do sir. You are a gentlemen and a scholar.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

I heartily agree with your post, and can absolutely confirm that French is, indeed, both a gentleman, and a scholar.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

So, this is a tease. For the following players, I have actual game film, not just highlights:

Dax Hollifield
Alan Tisdale
Keshon Artis
Eli Adams
DJ Crossen

You will get to see some footage that isn't always typically available in recruit film reviews.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Me:

via GIPHY

Once French posts the new thread...

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

Tisdale, Crossen, Adams- Carolina Shrine Bowl
Dax- Shrine Bowl and Army All America Game
Artis- State Semi-Final Oscar Smith vs Colonial Forge

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Accurate depiction of me reading french's articles.

Can't get enough.

You got any upcoming insight on the RBs? I've heard yards per carry has a high impact on winning percentage

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

Last on my list of reviews. I am tepid at best on the incoming backs and looking more towards the returners and Devyn Ford.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I feel like Caleb Steward is getting overlooked. Impressive Senior film in big boy Florida football. Spring enrollee. Will most likely redshirt. Downhill runner. Physical. I like him.

Always choose joy.

Not sure that I agree that his film is impressive but he does have a little Darren Evans to him - #s not overly impressive but does run downhill.

Darren Evans had crazy numbers in high school though. 60-odd touchdowns his senior season lol

Chem PhD '16

They were Indiana state record numbers in high school, both career and season I believe.

True indeed. I should have said measurables not numbers (stats).

Man, it's hard not to feel excited about the future of our offense. Add in some commits/possible commits from the 2019 class like Ford, Bowick, Houston with the upward trend of our OL recruiting. As a Hokies fan, I've always wondered what it would be like to have an offense that we can assume will put points on the board, and look fun doing it. I'm hopeful that I will know what that feels like over the next 2-3 years.

Imagine having multiple quality QB's competing for the starting job, so this is how the other half lives...

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy"

KCCO

Thanks, French, for putting the HS highlights into context for us with respect to how they translate to a VT/CJF/Cornelson offense and making impact projections like that. This takes it more than a step beyond the star ratings and helps get us all on the same page with what to expect out of these guys.

Been anxiously awaiting this.....great write up, French. I see your points about his mechanics issues and his inexperience, but I have a feeling that his redshirt will be burned this year and the QP era will begin. I was a Tyrod fan and not a Glennon one, even with Tyrod's early inconsistent play. I have a feeling that QP will move on up before his 4 years of eligibility. I've certainly been wrong before and feel free to remind me later.

French, I'd love to hear a quick take on Hazelton from you. It seems as everyone is full tilt hype on him, but Ball State is not the ACC so I am cautiously optimistic.

He reminds me of Jarrett Boykin (minus the freaky big hands that have to be discussed on every television broadcast. He is a good route runner, and wins physical battles against coverage on vertical throws. I don't think his speed will scare defenses. While stylistically he is a very different player, Hazelton will play a very similar role to that which Isaiah Ford was asked to play in Year 1 of the Fuente offense.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Waiting for that ) like...

via GIPHY

Hazelton will play a very similar role to that which Isaiah Ford was asked to play in Year 1 of the Fuente offense.

So the "you better be open and catch something, 'cuz its coming your way regardless" role from 2016. I sure hope he can deliver half as well as #1. I remember (especially in the ACCCG and Belk Bowl), when VT was down they just decided it was going to Ford to make something happen - everyone knew it and no one could really stop it. What a fun player - sure hope he can get back to form for the next level, for his sake.

Thanks French!

True but we will have what, 5 players drafted just this year? I just think the amount of hype for a MAC transfer two star recruit is a little much. I am also at the top of the list hoping you guys are right.

French, out of curiosity, which unit do you think has the higher ceiling moving forward...

Foster + Fuente recruits

or

Cornelson/Fuente + Fuente recruits?

Defensive tackle is the Achilles heel on defense. It could undo a bunch of good. I really like how Foster has recruited. I just wish he could hit a home run and get another elite corner that can take away the boundary third by himself.

Offensively is still a little weaker, in part because of the three most explosive potential offensive players (Farley, Ellis, and Thompson), two are likely earmarked on defense and I think Ellis would be a hell of a corner. I don't see a sure-thing gamebreaker on offense yet. Hooker, Patterson, Grimsley, Farley, Ellis, Savoy, and Turner all could be... but they are also all works in progress.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I know we disagree on this, but me thinks Farley could be just the corner that you're looking for.

I hope you are right. Me saw him jump over Facyson and make snatch after snatch and draw PI after PI. A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

You're definitely a better football mind than I, but I have heard that people were just as impressed with him at DB during practice as we were during the spring game. My only concern with him moving back to DB is that the injury could rob him of his fluidity and would make it harder on him to turn and run with receivers downfield.

That is my worry too. Medicine does amazing things with ACL reconstructions. However, VT's track record with recovery from a major injury and chronic injuries doesn't give me warm and fuzzies.

I am probably in the minority, and he may have no interest, but I think Ellis would be one hell of a corner. And I really like Waller if he has the speed to turn and run. Ball skills galore on that kid.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Man I would love to see Ellis at corner. I feel like most fans always want guys labeled as "athletes" to play offense. I guess highligh reel td catches are sexier than lock down corners who never have the ball thrown their way.

Sometimes I like to leave off the /s just to mess with people.

Love Waller and Nadir (again if he can come back from injury) at corner this class.

Nadir's straightline speed is absurd. I have no idea what kind of ability he has to bend and find the ball. He could contribute in a ton of places. If corner doesn't work, he will find the field somewhere.

Waller's ball skills are amazing. He played on a bad team. I am shocked teams kept throwing at him.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Hodges also was not particularly effective as a runner after the catch

That's a mild take. Great stuff French. Per usual.

Anyone else notice that Ellis always has his game face on?

It is a natural gift I posess to create friction in sensitive situations.

French what do you think about Webb ? Do you see him starting or getting solid playing time?

Me personally , I really like Conner although we have a lot of good depth at safety . I can see him having a bright future when it's hus turn .

I will talk about him more... very physical in press. Can he turn and run? That is the question mark. He looks like he can. Missing spring though sucks because they need him to play quickly, at least as the 3rd corner.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I've heard some rumblings that maybe Tre Turner's recovery isn't going as well as people had hoped & he may not be ready by the end of spring with his shoulder. If that's true, do you see him having to take a RS year to bulk up or can he play at his current weight?

I think they would maybe keep him out and monitor his progress through the season. I could see them burning it if he gets healthy and shows he can be an impact player. On the other hand, along with his injury he is still a raw player. He's from my high school and is the only, I am not kidding, only kid to come out of our school and play football at this level. The area doesn't have great talent either in general. A few standouts at neighboring schools but not so much that it makes his film even more impressive. He clearly relied on his superior athleticism and talent a lot so a combination of that and a possible slow recovery could lead to a redshirt, but I doubt it.

Shoulder injuries suck. I don't know exactly what he had done, but I've had surgery on both of mine and the recovery time/rehab time is far more extensive than I anticipated, and according to my Dr. far more extensive than that of most other joints. I would have a difficult time imagining him being 100% by Fall.

Is it football season yet?

If he isn't physically strong enough to block, then a redshirt year makes sense. Spreading the guys out wouldn't be a bad thing. But, if he isn't ready, hope that Kumah and Patterson have a big time spring, and I would think Grimsley would get moved outside.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

You think Grimz moves? Now that Phil Patt is healthy I think we're in good shape on the outside with he, Kuma, and Hazelton. Without Grimz it's only CJ and Savoy in the slot...

and Ellis

Eh not this fall IMO. He'll get his shot at QB first, and if it doesn't work out then he'll probably move into the slot. Was not going to be easy to for him to get onto the field his freshman year anyways transitioning from a HS qb to a receiver, but doing so with only a few weeks of practice there will make it even harder.

To me, this harkens back to a Ryan Williams scenario with really no downside to playing him. Barring injury, I don't see him ever being a 5th yr senior at VT.

He is one of the fastest players on the roster (his 100m is second only to Beck; his 55m is third to Beck and Thompson) and he has big time wiggle. VT is critically short on both of those attributes. I think you work him in gradually on jet sweeps, simple routes, and some wildcat QB, and by mid-season, you may have a difference maker.

Thompson can burn. He looks like he is fired out of a cannon on film.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

He has a loooooong way to go to even be considered as a 3 and done kind of player. RU played running back his whole life, Ellis has had only a handful of snaps at receiver over his career. Stepping in and playing immediately at receiver is generally harder than at running back anyways.

Just because he's a great athlete doesn't mean he's immediately ready to contribute. Deablo, Stro, and Bucky just off the top of my head are three of our best athletes over the last few years and none were ready to contribute their first year after changing positions between high school and college. Hell even Hunter wasn't ready last year and he's a freak. Very very few players are able to switch positions and play within their first year. I'd rather take my chances on him staying 5 years than betting that he leaves in 3. A lot of times when a player is learning a new position, it's better for him to focus on technique and the nuances during practice rather than game planning for the next opponent. Shortens the learning curve significantly

Stroman and Deablo both played as a true Frs (while Bucky left after his 4th year) and Farley was teed up to do it as well prior to his injury, but I really do understand your point that it isn't a given he can make a quick enough transition.

I think they want two deep across the board outside and inside. And Grimsley is good in the slot, but he is also long and can work outside a little better than the other option (Murphy, who I don't know know for sure if he is still around. I haven't heard his name mentioned.)

Physically, I think Mitchell would be ready to step right on the field. I just don't know if he will have time to get the scheme and route running down in time.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

He's probably gonna redshirt. There was a good possibility he would've had to even before the injury due to his thin frame.

I was amazed to see the almost totally empty stands in the QP highlights.

Don't sleep on Darryle Simmons

Based on the photo, looks like he slept on himself :D