RB Malachi Thomas commits to the Hokies

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.


Awesome. What kind of rating/bump do people expect him to get now that he's given a verbal commitment to a P5 school? I'm always curious how those things work.

I'm sure they will slap a 3* rating on there soon. It's going to be a weird year for evals. As mentioned before this cycle will have more guys slip through the cracks than any other in recent memory. The pandemic canceling spring/summer visits, the camp circuit, most 7on7 leagues, and potentially fall seasons in many states, etc. will have far reaching effects on this class.

From my understanding this guy was 3A player of the year in Georgia.

The Virginia Tech default seems to be 3* 83. That's my guess

We call that the .83 Special. The rating usually stays right about there with maybe a little wiggle room. Holds on loosely, if you will.

Profile image checks out


Don't let go...

Scholarship RB's currently on the roster with eligibility in 2021- King, Gary, Blacksher, Thomas, Wheatley, Lee, Beck, Hampton, Brunson. Hopefully our QB's can stop being battering rams. Perhaps we can coach up 3 of them to play at this level.

Yeah, I wonder if this indicates that (a) we don't have a shot with Audric Estime (4* RB from NJ, link) (b) we anticipate some of the RB-types to be more ATH types and play a different position, or (c) we're expecting more attrition in the RB room.

Also have to remember that Herbert and Holston (edit: Holston could have two years left) will be out of eligibility before the 2021 class hits campus. But it sure does seem like we're taking 3+ RBs every cycle (on top of transfer options) so while it feels strange, it's also not out of the ordinary for this staff

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

I think we keep recruiting Estime regardless.

Last I heard from #sauces, he's a top target, but that was months ago, before the DDecommit, and the wave of commits since then.

He's training with Bullock, so that can only help our chances, no?

Black could also play WR when he gets to Tech, so really, we could have all of 1 RB commit at the moment.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

Black could also play WR when he gets to Tech

I think we'll see Black in the Wheatley/Blackshear role.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

After watching his film, I still think he plays mostly running back. His vision at the line of scrimmage was very good.

Marshall University graduate.
Virginia Tech fanatic.
Formerly known as JWillHokieAlum.

Holston's career went by very quickly. Shame he wasn't used more- but I suppose 2020 (if played) could be a year he gets more run. I still think our RB strategy is throw a bunch of darts at a wall and see if 1-2 stick, vs. going out and getting a David Wilson/Ryan Williams. We haven't been able to do that under Fuente.

Holston's been hurt, so that's why he hasn't played. And it's not like the staff hasn't been trying to recruit David Wilson/Ryan Williams type players. You can't just go out and get them. They have to come here.

Holston's been hurt for 3.5 years? I think there have been stretches where he has been healthy, but not getting snaps. Like I said, hopefully he gets some more burn. My point was that in the absence of landing a David Wilson, the staff is just signing as many running backs as they can as a strategy.

He probably needed to redshirt as a freshman and we didn't have that luxury. He played okay in 2017. He was more effective in 2018, but with very limited run (only 57 carries).

I am mistaken that he is definitely moving on, as he could use his lost 2019 season as a redshirt year and have two years of eligibility left.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

He's only been here 3 years, so I'm going to ignore the first part.

As for "burn" during the 2018 season, would you have pulled Peoples for Holston? Because that was the big back that he replaced when he came in. I'm not sure I would've made that trade.

I don't think they are signing as many running backs as they can. I think they are trying to get fits to scheme.

My only thoughts on Holston- as I posted- was that his a career has seemed to go fast and he hasn't gotten much burn.

I seem to remember him being hurt a lot too. Like he wasn't quite ready his first year and then was never really 100% after that due to a series of small injuries. Just going by my memory though.

Proud author of one plaid comment.

Holston's career would have benefited greatly from a Red Shirt season... He needed it. Instead, he was thrown into the mix, had a couple of injuries and has never really been able to fully and completely be invested in a P-5 strength and conditioning program. As Chris Coleman over at TSL says, "Always be redshriting"

Is coronavirus over yet?

A) your math is off. We have a couple seniors in the room that won't be around when these commits come in and B) We'll see a few others move on soon. Definitely will not be that many by the time the (fall) 2021 season starts

I count 8 listed on the Hokiesports roster currently -- 10 if J'Wan Evans and Nashun Overton are scholly (but I think they're not?). When Jalen Hampton and Jordan Brunson hit campus, that's 10.

2021 class currently has 2 RBs incoming, with two for sure outgoing (Herbert and Holston).

Not your place to tell us who is "moving on soon", but any idea how many "a few others" might be?

edit: Holston could have two years left

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

We have a lot of running backs on scholarship for a team that seems to run the QB on every critical short yardage play.

(again, a case of forest and trees regarding your actual point. when you use specifics, people will tend to fact check specifics)

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Your count was 10, right?

My count was 10, but I forgot Holston could count his 2019 injury year as a redshirt year under the 4-game rule. So i think it is 11.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Ok but we won't have 11

I wasn't speaking on hypotheticals, I was going by the roster- which it will be 10, not 11. I have no idea if 7 of them will transfer.

this is fair, but you'd have to know for certain that there are player(s) who would be leaving eligibility at VT on the table. If you know that, then you know that due to having knowledge the rest of us don't, and thanks for sharing.

But I think dcwilson's math for the 2021 roster as things stand right now is actually right.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

LA may know specifics about a disgruntled/disillusioned/or behind 8ball player in the RB room (I do not), but realistically he could just be making a common sense prediction that an overcrowded RB room will have natural attrition after/during this year. If Fall camp happens, I think several of these RB's will have a more clear picture of where they stand and then we may start to hear more concrete whispers of specific attrition candidates.

it was phrased authoritatively enough that it didn't seem like your run-of-the-mill "well it's a crowded room so i wouldn't be surprised to see a transfer or two as things shake out" kind of comment.

The fact we're adding another RB to what is looking like an already crowded room is the whole point of bringing up how crowded the room is 🤷‍♂️ I don't think it makes sense to think about the roster makeup with attrition considered a foregone conclusion unless there's some specific information that goes beyond conjecture.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

That's fair. I think we just have a differing views of roster management.

I think this has been the case for awhile, but even moreso in the age of the portal/waivers/player empowerment, you will see this kind of natural attrition become more and more common.

You load positions of need with as many guys (that you want) as you can get, and then see how the chips fall, but since there is an 85 scholarship limit, you expect and even in some cases must "push" for attrition to make the numbers work and shift those scholarships where they are needed. So I always assume attrition will happen in every offseason for personal, numerical, and competitive reasons.

I think I assume attrition will happen too in the general sense. There are always players who don't work out, are unhappy, etc. But to me, there's a big difference between saying "there's a good chance we have transfers from the team" and "there will be a few players moving on in X position group".

I'd really like to start landing blue chip talent at RB so we don't have to keep seeing what sticks and churning through players. But i'd rather have that roster churn than be locked into underperforming players, I guess. Maybe we're at the point where I should just start assuing the majority of the RB room is going to turn over in 3 years instead of 5, but that's just doesn't feel right.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Agree. Let's be honest, we haven't recruited the position well the last 5 years. Injuries are part of the game, and every team has them. We haven't been unlucky or cursed, we simply haven't recruited the position well. King looks promising, the rest are unknown. We also sign BOTH big guys- like Gary, and scat guys like Blackshear. In my opinion it's a dart board strategy right now.

Beyond this argument over how many RBs we think will stay or go, are any of you all saying this is a bad thing? How do you all feel about the fact that we have taken more running backs, regardless of what the exact number is?

It's a fair question. I'd prefer to have more talent concentrated at the top of the depth chart that doesn't require roster churn to find the right balance. If I can't have that, I'd rather bring in players that we think can help us and have a quick hook on them if they aren't contributors to the success of the team (this can take many forms, and every team needs the players who are content to get special teams snaps, push the starters in practice, be a positive presence off the field, etc).

Having said all that, RB is one of the easier positions to "cobble together" production, but I really wish we didn't have to. It seems silly to make to take 3 RBs a year with the expectation (seemingly) that 2 of them won't make it past three years in the program. It speaks to some sort of issue with landing the top talent we need at the position, so we have to go with quantity to find something passable that sticks. Who is the best RB we've had under CJF?

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

I'm okay with it, but only if we shed numbers in the room along the way to fix the roster imbalance. Since we aren't landing Darren Evans, Ryan Williams, and David Wilson in successive classes anymore (which is obviously the ideal situation), I'm okay with us casting a wider net to try and find the answers to our lack of top RB play. I am very high on Jordan Brunson, for example, but I am wait and see on everyone else in the RB room except for King (transfers not considered for this point).

I do NOT like it as a long term strategy. I am okay with it if it successfully finds us 3-4 solid guys, but would hope we can resume landing a more finely curated group of top targets moving forward.

I know of one that will leave before this season, and another that was planning on entering to portal before the pandemic. Imagine that will happen after this season

Are these guys that we are going to be surprised about? Ones that people are high on, or guys that most people won't really know much about.

For example, I don't think we see King leave. But Gary could see a crowded room and move on.

I feel like we know Beck is probably going to move to full Track and Field, so that wouldn't be a surprise.

SI actually did a nice article on the backs, showing how we would have a couple for receiving package, bruisers for short yardage, and everydown. If you break it down like that, you could easily see 2-3 per group with a couple of guys in reserve.

was Jwan Evans one of them? Was he scholarship?

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

What do you want to do? It's called scheme. If the QB runs a read-option and the D goes for the RB, yes the QB is going to keep it.

I think we can all agree that the read-option giving the running back the ball no matter what didn't work too well last year.

Click here to destroy wall.

If the O-line need to improves fast, so the QB can be protected either to pass or make holes for the RB. They can be the unsung heros of the offense, or the cause for its demise.

Time will tell.




2,800 all purpose yards and 36 TDs last season. Those are almost Darren Evans level numbers.

Is his middle name really HollyWood?

We put the K in Kwality

Between Black and Thomas, it seems we've changed our RB prototype from last recruiting cycle. Any insight to how these guys will be used?

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson

Tech definitely has shown they want a running back that can play in the slot. I don't know if that's the only prototype of back moving forward though.

Really like his Hudl highlights. Wonder what he'll end up being rated as because they look great.

I wouldn't be surprised if 247 drops a .86 on him😎

The Army's on Ecstasy
So they say
I read all about it
In USA today
They stepped up urine testing
To make it go away
Because it's hard to kill the enemy
On ol' MDMA

Love us increasing our national recruiting footprint! Everyone is so worried about keeping talent in-state but if you look at most of the successful programs they succeed in getting players from around the county that best fit their program needs.

Stick it in...Stick it in...Stick it in

More comments debating about size of running backs in a room than UVA having fans at their spring festive.

Always glad to have a future Hokie commit, regardless.

More comments debating about size of running backs in a room than UVA having fans at their spring festive.

So... ten comments?

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)..

If we're counting stadium employees as fans, yes.

Click here to destroy wall.

Yes and socially distanced as well.

If you use Zima to disinfect your mouth, do you have to social distance?

Zima, Zima...oh yes the spiked Sprites that was popular way back then that I had for a while and now I drink lager, stouts, and IPAs after graduating to better adult beverage.

Fast, with power for his size and can catch really well for a running back. He would be a high 3/low 4 star with more exposure

Welcome home...let's go win some Games!!!!!

go Hokies

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

"What are you going to do, stab me? - Quote from Man Stabbed

#GA2VT times 2x this week😎😃

The Army's on Ecstasy
So they say
I read all about it
In USA today
They stepped up urine testing
To make it go away
Because it's hard to kill the enemy
On ol' MDMA

So....is this something that we should still be expecting?

Vroom Vroom

Nick Chubb got an extra year of eligibility and he's transferring to VT

Andy Bitter says Vince coaches his dad in high school. More family coaching connections paying off long term.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

bUt FuEnTe CaN't rEcUrIt!


Wrote that in my article.

I love that our staff utilizes the connections that they have to recruit families. It says a lot about our staff that people who played for them in the past recommend them to their players.