Hokies land at No. 14 in ESPN's Way-Too-Early Top 25 for 2018

An early glimpse at the next season.

[Mark Umansky]

The Four-Letter is bullish on Virginia Tech's potential this upcoming college football season. ESPN pegs the Hokies — which finished No. 24 in the final AP Poll of 2017 — at No. 14 in its self-admitted way-too-early top 25 for 2018.

Key losses: WR Cam Phillips, G Wyatt Teller, C Eric Gallo, RT Kyle Chung, DT Tim Settle, LB Deon Newsome, LB Andrew Motuapuaka, CB Brandon Facyson, CB Greg Stroman

Outlook: Quarterback Josh Jackson seemed to hit the freshman wall in the second half of the 2017 season. The Hokies struggled right along with him, losing three of their final five games. Jackson should be even better as a sophomore, after passing for 2,991 yards with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Deshawn McClease and Steven Peoples emerged as productive runners, and the Hokies will have to replace three of their five starting offensive linemen.

Defensive coordinator Bud Foster's unit loses a couple of key pieces, such as Motuapuaka and Facyson, but there's plenty for him to work with. The Hokies will play Notre Dame, Miami and Georgia Tech at home in 2018.

The ranking hedges on improvement from Josh Jackson and for Bud Foster to be Bud Foster. Also, ESPN did not mention the potential early departures of Tremaine and Terrell Edmunds to the NFL Draft.

Miami (No. 7), Notre Dame (No. 20), Florida State (No. 22) join the Hokies on the list.

Comments

This may go up after Spring Game. To my knowledge, VT hasn't lost a Spring Game in recent history.

I saw some Spring Games in the early 2000's where it was pretty clear that everyone lost.

The same cannot be said for lolUVA

That's right... LOLUVA lost their spring game and replaced it with a spring festival.

Is it football season yet?

Spring Festivus.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

a festival for the restival

Chem PhD '16

I legit just start cracking up every time I see your avatar.

I would absolutely LOVE and PAY to hear a conversation between his avatar and the SNES Star Fox team.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

2012 Spring Game?

I know I lost. VT parking ticket and the heavens opened up.

I was actually hoping someone would bring that up. That was one of the most fun Spring Game tailgates I ever had, so I still consider it a win.

That was the last game I went to. My daughter was only a few months old at the time and we all had to take cover in Cassell to get out of the rain. Man, i can't believe how long its been since I have been to a game...

2014 Spring Game--my first return to campus as an alum and I got thrown out of PK's. Can't hang like I used to

“I like the donuts.” -Bud Foster

That was a big win for me. We were sent through Merryman into the trophy area and meeting rooms. From there they sent us down a hallway without little direction so we ended up in the player's room where all the recruits were. Walked right past Bucky Hodges (literally within minutes of his commitment), Shane Beamer, and Jim Cavanaugh. It was weird.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

As far as Josh Jackson hitting the wall, I think it's pretty safe to say he wasn't anywhere near 100% since the Miami game when he left with his left foot in a boot and then he couldn't really step into any throws until the bowl game.

Clemson came in at No. 2 as well for another ACC team repped in the top-25.

Chem PhD '16

And Clemson (No. 2)

Miami (No. 7), Notre Dame (No. 20), Florida State (No. 22) join the Hokies on the list.

Clemson also managed to find a spot on the list.... I got a little excited when I saw they weren't in the OP thinking maybe I'd missed some earth shattering news that would swiftly remove them from the rankings.... oh well.

Edit: Beat to the punch. Damn you boss that walks in my office as soon as I go to post something on TKP!

That makes me uncomfortable with who we could lose at defense

Recruit Prosim

Home schedule this year is gonna be sweeeet. 2019's home schedule is gonna be shiiiit.

"I'm a Miller Lite guy, always have been, since I was 8." -John Daly

Is there anything Whit can do to fix the 2019 home schedule because honestly I don't think i'll buy season tickets for that home schedule.

It was a catch!

If I made a funny comment I probably stole it from Reddit.

It'd likely have to be a "kickoff" game at a neutral site or a last minute home-home scheduling...likely the former, but still unlikely. I'll still get them just to guarantee a pick for the Penn State game.

"I'm a Miller Lite guy, always have been, since I was 8." -John Daly

Doubt we'll want to play two marquee OOC games in the same season with @ND already on the schedule. ACC schedule is non-negotiable.

I do love our future marquee home schedules minus 2019.

2018:
Notre Dame, GT, Miami, UVA

2019:
UNC? Meh.

2020:
Penn State, GT, Miami, UVA

2021:
Michigan, Notre Dame

2022:
WVU, GT, Miami, UVA

2023:
Florida State

2024:
Rutgers (hey maybe they'll be good by then), GT, Miami, UVA

2025:
Wisconsion

2026:
BYU

we are scheduled to play two p5 games almost every year but 2019 already:

2018: ND (but we get FSU)
2019: @ND
2020: vs. PSU, @ Mich
2021: vs. Mich, @WVU, vs ND
2022: vs. WVU
2023: vs. Purdue, @ Rutgers, (FSU @ home)
2024: @wisky, vs. Rutgers (@Clem)
2025: @PSU, vs. Wisky
2026: @UMD, vs. BYU
2027: vs. UMD, @ ND
2028: @UMD, vs. ND
2029: @Ariz, vs. UMD

maybe looking at the 2019 schedule, there is a chance for a preseason bowl game in Atlanta or Dallas if we bump ECU (extend them for five more years!) or ECU's cousin: ODU.

knowing who will be upperclassmen in 2020....

If we're not set up to make a serious run that year, I don't know when we will

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

There may be lots of upperclassmen in 2020, assuming 3 or 4 or 5 don't declare early for the draft. Seems to be a trend in the Burg.

"Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes." Jim Carey

Miami is overrated.

Hey Smooooooooth, welcome to college football.

So are Texas and Michigan but in other breaking news, the sky is blue, water is wet.

I think we should take a minute and pat ourselves on the back for finishing 2017 ranked. I thought for sure we'd be dropped after the bowl loss

The L hurts but we had a pretty good showing

Recruit Prosim

I guess Clemson at 2 is reasonable with how the Atlantic is looking next year and since it is before any of their DL have declared for the draft. But if they lose Wilkins, Ferrell, and Bryant, it's pretty tough to put them #2. That DL made the rest of their defense look better and was probably the primary identity of the team.

Gotta start the Hype for that 9/3 game against FSU. ESPN wants to make sure they have another big game to bring in the moneys.

Shoot, may even get game day...

The most we'd get would be the Gameday skeleton crew they sent for the Ohio State game...which I'd be totally fine with, still good coverage.

"I'm a Miller Lite guy, always have been, since I was 8." -John Daly

It's on labor day, so no official gameday, but we should get the crew in town

I know... Looking way too far ahead, but I am seeing that the Orange Bowl is a part of the playoff next year. How does that impact the ACC, because I know when we send someone to the playoff, the next available automatically gets the Orange, but with the Orange out of that pool next year, I don't see any backup plan.

Looks like the ACC could be on a course to get boned in bowl selection next year.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

Not if all 4 teams in the playoff are from the ACC

VT, Wake, UNC and uva would be great.

There's no way in hell the playoff committee would put in 3 teams from the Coastal.

VT, Wake, UNC, and BC is more like it.

_________________________________________________________________
95% of what I say is sarcastic. The other 5% is usually taken out of context.

I want Uva to go winless, to be completely honest

We would probably get the first at large to either the Fiesta or Peach

Recruit Prosim

Is it September yet?

If I'm being paid to read TKP does that mean it offsets the cost of a Key Players Club membership?

I am very pleased we stayed in the Top-25 for the final rankings.

It's all about The VPISU
VT '10, Born & Raised in the 804.
GO: Freeman Rebels, Keydets, Black Knights (the VMI of the North), NY Rangers & Giants, and ATL Braves.

I'm not buying this ranking. Too high

I guess they are saying we go 11-1 with a loss against Miami and Miami loses to LSU

You put those words together, those are my favorite words, Popeyes and bahama
- Mike Burnup

What the hell

Even in the most maroon and orange shaded glasses these are way too high. Between replacements on defense and the uncertainty on offense high teens low 20s seems more reasonable to me.

Always Jumping even from hours away.

I don't understand how you can reasonably look at how much worse the offense got over the course of the year and how much talent we're losing on defense (even if the Edmunds stay) and conclude that we should be ranked any higher than the 20's.

A ranking like this would require the incoming receiving talent to be a monumental improvement on what we had this year, for the performance of the running game in the bowl to not be a fluke when the entire season said otherwise, and for Josh Jackson (assuming he remains) to improve by a lot when he spent the entire season regressing. And that's assuming the defense doesn't suffer a massive drop off, which it very reasonably could.

Our offensive woes during the season begin and end with injuries.

WR Farley (no deep threat)
WR Phillips (imagine his production without the hernia)
RB Peoples (finally started to show promise in last few games)
QB Jackson (dude couldn't step into throws nor be as mobile as he was earlier)
OL was banged up all year as well.

CBS Sports has us at 11 with some generic analysis

Justin Fuente is staying for at least a third season, meaning the Hokies continue to have something special going on. Josh Jackson should be one of the nation's best quarterbacks.

CBS Way too early rankings

"I'm too drunk to taste this chicken" - Colonel Sanders via Ricky Bobby

Josh Jackson should be one of the nation's best quarterbacks.

lol.... based on what? Should be improved one would think but no way he is one of nations best imo.

Edit: And this nations best thing is all relative too... I personally would say if you are in the top 10, then you are in the nations best talk

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

Don't let last night's national title game or some of the talk on this forum fool you. It's rare for freshmen to perform at a high level. Regardless of who gets the job next year, it can be assumed that quarterback play will improve.

Like I said, I think he will probably improve, my thing was saying he will be one of the nations best is premature, (silly imo) and also relative

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

Not living and dying by every snap can actually give you a better perspective sometimes. Hokies fans have been harsh, but producing as a freshman is hard to do, especially when your left tackle goes down and your receivers are all freshman. They may be overly optimistic, but it's not hard to see how that scenario could pan out.

I am not talking about snap chat or anything like that. I am merely stating what I saw on the field and the progression from game 1 to the last.

Definitely overly optimistic imo but again, I do think he will improve, will a year under his belt.

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

Snaps as in "hike-hike" I think

"I'm a Miller Lite guy, always have been, since I was 8." -John Daly

idiot as in "me".... have a leg lol

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

This is crazy optimism. How will Bud's D be next year with all the new faces starting? What about the O-line? The RB looks to be a known factor, as well as the receiver corp. I can't complain if we substantiate it, but we also need to be realistic.

It is good to see the "4 letters" giving us some attention.

Bud's D always has new faces starting. I wouldn't worry about it.

That description gave a crazy long list of reasons why we shouldn't be ranked, rather than the other way around. I think the offense takes a step forward, the defense takes a step back. How much in either direction is too early to say, but 11-14 still seems high to me.

I think our offense takes a big step forward next year. Don't underestimate just how much talent at the receiving spots were not playing this season. And I don't know how many times it's been proven and people never get it. Never, ever, ever underestimate a Bud Foster defense. He is a defensive wizard who somehow brings the best out of everyone, even when there is massive turnover.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

I'll never forget how he managed to field a quality defense in 2008 after the mass exodus of household names we lost after the 2007 season. I still remember that 2008 defense well. Brett Warren and Purnell Sturdivant coming out of nowhere, trying to fill the enormous shoes of Hall/Adibi. Stephan Virgil stepping up at corner, Kam Chancellor starting his legacy, Dorian Porch and Davon Morgan stepping into the massive hole left by the rangy DJ Parker. Cordarrow Thompson and John Graves stepping up after losing Carlton Powell and Barry Booker. Jason Worilds stepping in for Chris Ellis. That team won a damn BCS bowl game somehow.

That 2008 team was 6-4 at one point I believe. Darren Evans really came on at the end of the season though, and Tyrod's legs were basically the passing game with so much inexexperience at receiver. That offense was more inexperienced than the 2017 offense. Special season for sure.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

Ah freshman year. My first ever experience with Hokie Football too, sweltering Charlotte heat in a loss to ECU. The only way it could go was up.

Shoot, capped it off with a BCS win too.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

The Georgia Tech game a couple weeks later was even worse. My friend and I chugged a bunch of Koolaid at the tailgate (we were 5th graders at the time), and he overheated in the stadium, fell over, and started puking. We missed the whole second quarter for that.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

Okay.. but for every 2008 there's a 2010. All offseason everyone said "don't worry that we're returning two defensive starters, Bud is a magician". And 2010's defense wasn't necessarily bad, but it was definitely a down year. Bud may be the best in the business but that doesn't mean we should expect the defense to not miss a beat after losing a ton of talent.

I think it'll take some time, but as long as we find some way to make up for losing Settle, the defense will pull through.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

I'm foreseeing our usual opening in the upper teens, climbing to just out of the Top Ten, then a ridiculously large drop to the 20's/just outside rankings after a loss or two, then spending the rest of the season clambering back to just higher than where we opened. Meanwhile multiple top ten teams get blown out by Top 15s or lose to unranked teams and slide down only 2-5 spots.

/rant

I'm higher than most of you guys on JJ's talent. But I see no reason with reasonable progression with him and a larger jump from the talent around him that our offense cannot be top 3 in the ACC. Add that with the truest of stable geniuses in Foster... and call me optimistic to beat Miami and win the coastal.

JJ from woovoo and the bowl game = 10+ wins, ACCCG, possibly top ten. JJ from whatever game it was where my dad called me and opened with 'I think our quarterback might suck' = Hooker time.

I want Jackson to be great, I like the kid, and I'm optimistic that my response to pops, which was; he's a freshman, freshmen are all idiots, give it time; was right and he'll put it together and be more consistent next year.

He wins the job or somebody better wins the job. Either way I take cautious optimism through this long dark winter.

I've been drinking.

I think he'll get better. And if Hooker (or more likely Willis) beats him out, then they will have beat out an improved Jackson. Either way, we'll be fine at QB.

Virginia Tech would walk right up to you and punch you in the neck. They're just tougher. Cowherd 3:16

I agree. Who is Willis? did I miss something? is that quincy's nickname?

I've been drinking.

Ryan Willis...transfer QB who started a few games at Kansas as a freshman. He sat out last season bc of the transfer rules, but has two more seasons of eligibility for us.

I totally missed that. Thanks.

I've been drinking.

If Quincy's nickname was Willis, that would be awesome.

Im curious what makes you think that Willis is more likely than Hooker to compete for the starting job?

I'm not CPA, but I tend to think that Willis shouldn't be overlooked when it comes to the QB competition. After all, he has experience as a starter for a P5 team, as well as a record of having some really nice games for Kansas (31/45 348 yds vs TCU). Overall his stats don't really stand out, but his supporting cast was pretty awful there. With a year in our QB room, I would think he has had the opportunity to have figured out our offense. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do in the spring game.

Bold move: calling that the walk-on transfer will out perform the hand picked Fuente scholarship QB.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Willis (r-JR) still has experience over Hooker (r-FR). Who knows whether he might have been starting over Jackson (r-SO) this season if he hadn't had to sit because of transfer rules? We'll get an idea of where he stands in the spring game.

Virginia Tech would walk right up to you and punch you in the neck. They're just tougher. Cowherd 3:16

Whatchu talkin 'bout??????? Willis???!!!!!!??????

Chem PhD '16

I will never complain about being over-ranked in a preseason poll.

Much easier to sell an overrated program than an underrated.

Keep calm, Gobble on

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

“I turned down 12 other opportunities. You know what I mean?” - Fuente

Much easier to sell an overrated program than an underrated.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

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