BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech defensive end Houshun Gaines isn't expected to play this fall for the Hokies. The team posted an updated roster for the fall without listing the talented defender.
According to sources with knowledge of the situation, the team's coaching staff wants Gaines to focus on his mental and physical health this fall.
"The coaching and support staff is providing all the resources they can to get him in a good place," a source told The Roanoke Times. "Everyone wants to see House come out the other side of this."
Gaines suffered a torn ACL late in the season against Pittsburgh. The defender was the Hokies leading pass rusher with 4.5 sacks at the time.
Earlier in the season, Gaines' mother Tardra Hilliard, 44, passed away.
Gaines had his initials painted on his cheeks when Virginia Tech travelled to Durham to face Duke just days before she died. He spoke about his mother's health challenges after lead the Hokies to a 31-14 with a career-high 2.5 sacks.
"It's been tough, but the main thing is just coming out and coming around my guys and being around my team is really uplifting," Gaines said, after the game. "Being able to play football, it gives you a moment to get away from anything and get swallowed up in a whole different world. I love this team. I love the coaches. I love my guys. I love this program. Without them, honestly, I don't know if I would be sitting here acting the way I am."
Gaines spent weeks traveling between Blacksburg and North Carolina to visit his mother. The coaching staff let Gaines decide whether he needed time away from the team, but the defender stayed in the lineup until the injury against Pittsburgh.
Virginia Tech players rallied around their teammate throughout the trying time.
"I feel for House a lot at this moment," Virginia Tech defensive back Caleb Farley said. "I know it can really get you down. I'm just going to continue to pray for him and let him know that I'm here for him, that I love him and this team loves him."
Virginia Tech defensive end Houshun Gaines not expected to play in 2019
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