Potential Projected VT Football Depth Chart (Offense)

Like a lot of other TKPers I watched the letters of intent roll in and tried to do the mental calculus of how the new signees would offset the attrition from seniors and others who took their talents elsewhere.

I'm a visual person so I made a chart showing anticipated position, grade level (really conjecture when pending medical redshirts are concerned), and rough consensus recruit ratings.

This is the next step from the comments I put on LA Hokie's post here.

I think I've incorporated all given feedback, but no doubt there will be more. Happy to update as we go through this long football off season.

A few notes:

  • I'm not equivocating talent to star level at an individual level. Just color coding for an easy at-a-glace visual of seeing where the program is trending.
  • The colors I picked are the colors I picked. I'm not stating value of a player, just the recruiting stars they were given
  • Some positions are listed generically. Ex WR 1, WR 2 - I have an idea that we have 3 different types of receivers, but I don't really know who fits where. Educate me in the comments and I'm happy to update.
  • I've listed players listed as part of the team from Hokie Sports. Some will be walkons, some will be practice players, some will be simply unranked players that will be contributors
  • Some positions / players don't have a lot of info associated with them. For example, there's a bunch of players on the Offensive Line that were termed OL. I slotted the unranked guys kinda-sorta anywhere just to make the graph balance out. I'm sure some have more natural positions than others. Let me know in the comments and I'll update. Just lose your mind because I put a LT on the practice squad in the Center spot.
  • This took way longer than I thought it would. If it's well-received I'll add Defense and Special Teams
  • Go Hokies! Less than 9 months until kickoff!
Legend

(Note: Love walk-ons. Not implying stars == talent level. Just reflecting what was written on TSL when they signed to allow for a comparison with newly-signed class.)

Walk on / not ranked 2 Star 3 Star 4 Star

WRs

  WR1 WR2 WR3
2019 Returning Damon Hazelton (rJr) (3*) Hezekiah Grimsley (Jr) (3*) Tre Turner (So) (4*)
  Eric Kumah (Jr) (3*) Dejuan Ellis (rF) (3*) Phil Patterson (JR) (3*)
  Darryle Simmons (rF) (4*)   Sam Denmark (rJr) (3*) (Walked on senior day. Unsure if returning.)
  Corey Thomas (Jr) Tre Coghill (rSo) Kaleb Smith (rF)
  Sean Daniel (rSr) Tink Boyd (rF) Travis Williams (rF)
  Nick Reisen Weaver (rSo) Devin Dews (rF) Nicolas Conforti (rSo) (wr/rb?)
  Jacob Van Landingham (rF) Justin Hairston (rSo)  
2019 Newly Signed Tayvion Robinson (4*) Jacob Pickney (4*) Jaden Payoute (4*)
  Elija Bowick (3*)    
Not Returning Sean Savoy (3*)    

 

Offensive Line

  LT LG C RG RT
2019 Returning Christian Darrisaw (So) (2*) Leticus Smith (rSo) (3*) Zachariah Hoyt (r JR) (2*) Aiden Brown (rSo) (3*) Silias Dzansi (rSo) (2*)
  Patrick Kearns (rJr) (3*) ??? Joe Kane (rFr) (3*) Tyrell Smith (rSr) (2*) John Harris (rF) (3*) TJ Jackson (rJr) (2*)
  Luke Tenuta (rF) (3*) Dan Bailey (rSr) Louis Mihota (rFr) Brennon Garrison (rSo) Walker Culver (rF) (3*)
  Kevin Kish (rSR) Austin Cannon (rJr) Connor Kish (rSr) Gene Kastelberg (rSo) Matt Christ (rSr)
2019 Newly Signed   William Pritchard (3*)   Bryan Hudson (4*) Jesse Hanson (3*)
Not Returning   Kyle Chung (3*)   Braxton Pfaff (3*) Yosuah Nijman (3*)
      D'Andre Plantin (Sr)  

QB

2019 Returning QB
  Ryan Willis (rSR) (3*)
  Josh Jackson (rSo* - medical redshirt?) (3*)
  Hendon Hooker (rSo) (4*)
  Quincy (rF) (4*)

 

RB

2019 Returning RB
  DeShawn McClease (rJr) (3*)
  Terius Wheatly (rSo) (3*)
  Jalen Holston (Jr) (3*)
  Caleb Steward (rF) (3*)
  Cole Beck (rF) (3*))
  Coleman Fox (rSr) (2*) (Walked on senior day. Unsure if returning.)
2019 Newly Signed Tahj Gary (3*)
  Keshawn King (4*)
Not Returning Steven Peoples

 

TE

2019 Returning TE
  Dalton Keene (jr)(3*)
  Chris Cunningham (Sr)(3*)
  Drake Deiulis (rSo)(3*)
  James Mitchell (So - played in >4 games in 2018) (4*)
2019 Newly Signed Nick Gallo (3*)
DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.

Comments

Fox went out with the team on Senior Day, so you can probably remove him from your list.

Question on Senior Day. Does that mean he's off the team? Half of the bowls I watched had players where the announcers said they completed an undergraduate degree and were staying on as they had more eligibility. .

Typically, if you partake in Senior Day, you're leaving the program.

Twitter me

Not to nitpick, but if you're keeping this for yourself as a visual aid, you may want to change the James Mitchell cell to a green fill.

Nice job putting that all together; I can tell you put some time into that!

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

He also played in more than 4 games.

Denmark isn't returning either. He went out on senior day.

Always choose joy.

Same thoughts on Denmark as above with Fox:

Question on Senior Day. Does that mean he's off the team? Half of the bowls I watched had players where the announcers said they completed an undergraduate degree and were staying on as they had more eligibility. .

Generally you walk in your last year of eligibility or the last year you will be playing.

You can graduate before you're eligibility ends. Some choose to keep playing at their school, others call it quits altogether and focus on career/another sport, others seek transfer.

Always choose joy.

Unless your name is Kyle Chung and you walk just in case you don't get another yesr.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

I didn't even know he played at all

Recruit Prosim

Thanks and thanks for the catch! Updating the color for James shortly.

Shouldn't we wait to discuss this after the crippling off season dismissals and injuries? *ducks*

Surely sane people would do this.

No sane person would make a hypothetical depth chart iand post it here in early Jan.

Really interested to see how QB and RB shake out next year. I have no doubt that there will be an open battle for QB, but I wonder if Hooker or QP will make a push. Also wondering how much playing time King will get.

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King's hype gets lost because people see him as a consolation prize for losing Ford. In all reality he is the highest rated RB we've had come through in a while. Could very possibly be an immediate contributor.

First, I would be very surprised to see Hooker back next season. The fact that he didn't throw an actual pass all season and QP got playing time over him seems like pretty clear writing on the wall.

If I had to put money on it, would bet JJ is the Starter next year...not sure how I feel about that. Willis clearly seemed to have periods of very poor decision-making but also made some fantastic deep throws that I'm not sure JJ can make, also seems to have a slight edge in athleticism. QP probably won't be fully ready (or trusted enough) by next year, but if he lights it up in the Spring he could possibly make a run at it.

If JJ is the starter, next year, we shouldn't see a scenario like 2 years ago, where JJ played hurt. Willis proved himself this year. If JJ isn't near 100%, Willis should start.

Similar if Willis is chosen to start and gets banged up.

Seems to have a slight edge in athleticism

This is akin to saying Andre the Giant has a slight edge on weight compared to Eddie Royal.

It was noted in another thread that Quincy has the playbook down it's just now an accuracy and confidence deal.

Really? that's good news!

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I have a feeling that accuracy hurdle could be a substantial one for QP.

It very well could be LT3 reincarnate, but if QP is the second coming of Jesus that people claim, I hope he can wrangle it in.

If we could have Logan in Fuentes system with these receivers we would have a top ten offense

exit light

First, I would be very surprised to see Hooker back next season. The fact that he didn't throw an actual pass all season and QP got playing time over him seems like pretty clear writing on the wall.

Not necessarily true. he went in when JJ was healthy against William and Mary.. Once JJ was injured staff didn't want to risk injury to their number two qb so that's why Qp played the battering ram qb.

So what color would 5* be if/when it happens?

.

.
.and Whit puts on his batting gloves and steps up to the plate....

So what color would 5* be if/when it happens?

Blue

Not because of the blood but because thats what happens after all the teasing....

Let's Go

HOKIES

I always thought it was white for walk on, green for unranked, blue for 2 star, purple for three star, orange for four star, and pearlescent for five star

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

Wont Kumah be a SR?

Never equivocate when you can equate

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)..

Might want to Move Aiden Brown, he has been working at DT.

1-0 every week

Did I miss Beck in the RB list? (Even though I think his long term future is in track)

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Take this with a grain of salt, but an Uber driver in Blacksburg told me that Beck told his son that he is going to only do track going forward,

She agrees.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

Thank you Simone

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

Had him on the original and missed him on this one. Added back in!

JJ will be the starting QB next season.

So with Quincy only having no last name, does his jersey just stay blank or will it say Quincy? I'm hoping for the latter.

Imo James Mitchell playing more than 4 games was one of the biggest unforced errors this staff has had

With the hindsight that he needed it this year anyway it's not as big a deal, but Devon Hunter wasting a year of eligibility his true freshman year to occasionally play ST and nothing else seemed equally as bad if not worse.

Yeah same with Kumah his freshman year. We'll probably be good on receiver depth in 2020 but man if we had him for two more seasons

Artis also had his shirt burned to play ST this year, which is a little confusing considering the age of out LBs. It would be nice to space hem out a little more.

I actually feel really really good about our offense moving forward. Fuente knows how to get solid QB play and we are loaded with young talented weapons. The defense on the other hand ....yikes

"The defense on the other hand ...yikes"

What a weird statement to read about VT football. Yet, I don't completely disagree.

We just need the offense to outscore the opponent.

VT '10, Born & Raised in the 804.
Rockin the Bakken.
“When life deals you lemons, pick ‘em up and chuck ‘em at Gritty.”

Honestly, I understand the color-coding, but I feel that color-coding by class level would make more sense from a mental organization perspective. I would color Fr, r-Fr/So, r-So/Jr, r-Jr/Sr, and r-Sr.

Edit: Not trying to shit on your work. You put a great deal of thought and effort into it, and did a great job. I just feel that for the majority of positions, experience > talent, and visualizing the experience levels would be more important.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

I agree with the color coding of class level, but I would do it based on years of eligibility used/remaining so only 4 colors (Fr/r-Fr, So/r-So, Jr/r-Jr & Sr/r-Sr).

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

Are we really only losing four contributors next year?? That could be sweet if we show a lot of improvement for the 2020 season

That's how it looks on paper for the O. There's a bit more loss on the defensive side. And again, who knows how the off season shakes out - preseason training has been brutal for us in the past.

I'm struck by the fact we only signed 3 OL this cycle. Is it just me or is that something to be concerned about?

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

We sign a bunch last year so I wouldn't worry about it, we had more important places that we needed guys.

4 last year. Darrisaw is already playing from that class.

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

There's always some surprise on the offensive line with this coaching staff, and I expect nothing different next season.

Disclaimer: that's not a bad thing. The freshman all looked very good this season. I trust this staff with offensive linemen.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

Smith was 3* but chose to walk on

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

Amazing work to put this together!

Just one little nit-picky question: why is Tre Turner listed as "WR3?" I'm assuming it's by position (like X, Y and Z receivers). But if we are in a two-wide receiver set, surely Turner isn't off the field, is he?

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

There's no way that BPT will be third string next year. He earned the starting nod.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

Thanks. No worries on the comment. I put in the (over long notes) that I wasn't sure about the actual WR positions and am happy for someone to explain it to me.

I have a rough understanding of slot, possession, deep threat but for how that shakes out - and for how some of the guys further down the depth chart fill the necessary body types / acceleration needed for those roles, I'm not your guy.

Happy to update table if someone wants to break it down!

Skip the update, we need you focused on putting together that defensive table so everyone can make
Portentous and Pretentious Predictions on how much that 81st ranked defense can improve

The LewDew, Professional Golf Bum

80 spots

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

I am taking the under on that bet.

The LewDew, Professional Golf Bum

I would think so re: Turner being on the field in 2WR sets.

Usually WR3 is your slot guy, and (someone can correct me) I don't think Turner played much slot this year, if at all.

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.

He played inside a little. A few of the jet sweeps he took were form the slot and he ran a few routes out of it.

But he would generally be considered Virginia Tech's No. 1 receiver, right? I mean, I think Hazelton, Grimsley and Kumah are all excellent also, but seems like Turner has got to be the No. 1 guy.

On a related topic, why doesn't Chris Cunningham play more? He's scored touchdowns on nearly a third of the career passes he's caught (7 of 22). That's pretty remarkable.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

He or hazelton would be #1.

And Chris is just a little limited. He offers more value as an in-like blocker than playmaker.

Hazelton is #1 , however I don't think it matters as much in this offense. But i could be wrong. The have had Tre outside and in slot. Same with Kumah and Grimsly. I don't remember Hazelton in the slot. Hazelton didnt play a lot in the bowl game either, not sure why. But unless he is in the dog house Hazelton is the top reciever.

Some offenses are different, Mike Leach doesnt move receivers. So if you stack on one side the other side receivers aren't in the game. He does this so the reciever always makes the same turns and catches the ball from same direction.

Teams who run a lot of 3-wide sets (3 total receivers outside the tackles, not trips) have a "possession" guy, a deep threat, and a smaller slot guy with speed, ball skills etc. But that sort of terminology is a bit antiquated, particularly for VT. We shuffle guys in and out so much, the lines get blurred. Not really even sure we should be thinking about this group in terms of X, Y, Z, and H. But what the hell - it's the offseason...

Let's make some generalizations! (And, let's limit ourselves to guys who played/were on the roster this year.) Class designations refer to the 2019 season...

The X: Haze (r-Jr) can win 50-50 balls and is bigger and (a little bit) faster than being a "possession" receiver would imply. When healthy, he's our "#1" receiver. Kumah (Sr) is almost the same exact size, also wins a lot of jump balls, and doesn't have the speed to take the roof off a defense. I'd put Phil Patterson (r-Jr) in this group as well (but he's never really established himself as anything more than a guy who can spell the starters). Same with Darryle Simmons (r-Fr) - but I have hopes he can fill the void when Kumah graduates next year.

The Y: Clearly Tre Tuner (So) is the only guy we've seen play who can be a legit deep threat. More speed than anyone I listed above, big enough frame to battle for 50/50's, and enough ball skill to run the jet sweeps and bubble screens. Same goes for Hezzie Grimsley (Jr) - little smaller than Tre, but does all the same stuff - IMO he's got enough size and straight-line speed to keep him out of the "traditional" slot/Z group. (Counterpoint: both Tre and Hezzie played a bunch of snaps in the slot. Again, these are generalizations.) Also, I still hold out hope that Kaleb Smith (r-Fr) can be a contributor here.

Slot: remember CJ Carroll? And Sean Savoy? And Kalil Pimpleton? They were all slot guys, and they're all gone. These days, we've got bigger guys manning that spot (a mix of Hez, Tre, sometimes Phil) - but I think we have yet to see our best true slot weapon: DeJuan Ellis (r-Fr). Bigger than any of the departed slots (but, at 5'11"/180, smaller than most of our current wideouts), speed to burn, and great ball skills. He can also spin it as a thrower. He's versatile as all get out, and strikes me as maybe THE prototype Fuente skill player in the WR corps. Ellis is one of my top 5 returning players to watch this spring (the other 4: Hunter (r-So), Porcher IV (r-So), Holston (Jr), and Lecitus Smith (r-So)).

The H: we've clearly got options. Keene (Jr) (almost a fullback re how we line him up; good hands, improving as a blocker), Cunningham (r-Sr) (best blocker, more traditional TE role, decent hands but c'mon, he's always wide open when we throw it to him), DeIullis (r-So) and Mitchell (So) (both huge targets with good hands - if DeIullis can establish himself as a viable 3rd option, I wouldn't mind seeing Mitchell taking a redshirt in '19 instead of another wasted season coming in and blocking in games that are already decided).

As for the incoming guys, the only receiver I see coming in and immediately moving the needle is Payoute. He's taller and faster than all of our current (non-TE) pass-catchers; great size (already almost 200lb); if he can prove he can catch the ball and run reliable routes, he'll be in the rotation from the jump.

TL;DR: I don't think it does any of us (or any of the players, ftm) much good to think in terms of a "starters & reserves" hierarchy. And traditional positional subgroups may have gone the way of the dodo. Most of the time, the guys on the field are there because of the play being called, not "the depth chart". Better, more experienced players will play more than the younger, greener guys - but that's been true since leather helmets.

You're the only ones that I can talk to about this, you guys.

Great post. I think this demonstrates something that is constantly argued on this site and that's how long it takes to build depth and develop quality players. This has been a several year process and probably won't fully materialize until 2020/2021

Ellis has the most upside at slot and its great we got him to redshirt this year. The only part I would slightly debAte is that our our 4 incoming receivers are all talented and some will challenge for time due to the talent level (all 4 are the real deal).

Tayvion is smooth and will possibly be the best bubble screen option day 1. I think he is a natural receiver and the fact he played QB his senior year won't matter - also he and Ellis are your best return options for PR.
Elijah is enrolling early, very smart, good ball skills and an overall solid pure receiver. His spot is loaded, but his offer at ND was real and I don't think he will redshirt. Expect him to challenge for snaps just like Tre did.
Jayden could go either way. He is extremely talented, but not enrolling early could lead to a redshirt. On the other hand if he picks up the offense and shows he can be more than a straight line burner (which I think he is as he has good hands) he could be a star day 1 as he is more physically developed than say for example Turner was day 1.
Jacob P. is the best overall with good ball skills and blocking ability/attitude.

My point is I think 1-2 will be difference makers and will challenge the current guys as the pure talent of the incoming receivers is very high.

(all 4 are the real deal)

We are in complete agreement. This is my favorite class of pass-catchers in many moons. I think I flagged Payoute mainly because we don't have that player on the roster - the "roof-taker-off-er"...

Agree Bowick legit - keeping him from flipping to the Irish is maybe the biggest recruiting win of the cycle by the staff.

Agree Tayvion is electric. I think you're right about he and Ellis on punts. Anyone who thinks "we shoulda took Tank Land" will look back and laugh. Kid could be Stroman On Offense.

I honestly forgot Payoute was not enrolling early. That will definitely hurt his chances of early PT. But if he can catch the ball, he's a matchup nightmare. All the physical skills.

And, after all that, Jacoby Pinkney is actually my favorite. To my eye, the most game-ready in a holistic sense. His route-running and blocking are way ahead of schedule development-wise. He's got a lot of talent in front of him but that's a great problem to have. Steel sharpening steel and whatnot.

You're the only ones that I can talk to about this, you guys.

It's pronounced Coleman Fux.

@hokie_rd

Fox, Denmark, and Sean Daniel not returning