The Ultimate Watch List: 2021 Season Preview Part 1

Are Virginia Tech's best two positional groups on the outside? Is bigger Braxton Burmeister better Braxton Burmeister? Can we really trust Justin Hamilton? All that and more in part one of the 2021 season preview.

If there's one thing we know about the college football preseason, it's that we all love a watch list. Mix in some preseason rankings discussion, and it's even better. As eye-roll worthy as rankings and watch list szn may be, the weeks of prognostication mean one simple thing — college football is near. And that simple fact can make you forget that none of us know anything until we watch the teams step onto the field.

(Well, almost anything. We're pretty sure Kansas is going to be bad and at least two of the Clemon/Alabama/Ohio State triumvirate will make the playoff. Parity, amirite?)

Since the Virginia Tech football team hasn't made its way onto a ton of preseason hype lists, I decided to make my own. Previewing the season with a series of questions, rankings and maybe even a take or two.

So let's dive into,

(pauses for dramatic effect)

THE ULTIMATE WATCHLIST™ (Part 1)

Tech's five most interesting weight-related storylines

5a. Amare Barno 245lbs (up 10 from 2020)

5b. TyJuan Garbutt, 252lbs (up 14 from 2020)

French brought this to light earlier this month, but a bigger, healthier TyJuan Garbutt would be huge for a defensive line short on experienced options. And while his counterpart will get all the attention (from both media and opposing coaches), Garbutt has the chance to play his way into a Ken Ekanem-esq role of the solid, never flashy edge setter.

As for Barno, I'll just say this. At Texas A&M, Von Miller was 6'3", 243. At Wisconsin, T.J. Watt was 6'3, 252. Brian Burns checked into the combine at 6'4", 249 (though looked much lighter at Florida State).

Barno's always had the length and athleticism, but he now also has the requisite size to be an NFL-caliber pass rusher.

Let's see if Bill Teerlinck can get him there.

4. James Mitchell, 255lbs (up 13 from 2020)

Similarly to the point above — Travis Kelce is 260. Darren Waller and Mark Andrews are both 256. Logan Thomas (!!!!!) is 250.

This may not make a difference for Hokie football, but it's really great to see some of the program's best prospects put in the offseason work to make themselves even more attractive to the pros.

3. Norell Pollard, 281lbs (up 16 from 2020)

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