Hokies Football: DT Eric Whitehad Will Enroll at Junior College for 2015

For many Class of 2015 commits to major D-1 football programs, they are finishing up their senior years of high school and making final preparations to join that program. However, there are always a few who don’t immediately join the program that they signed to play for back in February.

The Hokies have had a few of those players, most of which usually join campus for the second semester in time for spring practice. Today, we received news on the latest Hokie commit to follow the junior college for a semester route.

The assumption is that Eric Whitehead will only be at Nassau Community College for a semester before joining the team though it is definitely a possibility that Whitehead will be there longer. It is surprising that Whitehead is going to New York to play for Nassau instead of staying in Indiana or going to Virginia and doing this at Fork Union, which makes you wonder a little about how long he will be there.

Whitehead was one of three defensive tackle signees for the Hokies along with Tim Settle and Harry Lewis. Whitehead was likely headed for a redshirt anyway so him going to Nassau gives him an extra year of eligibility that could significantly help the amount of playing time he gets while at Virginia Tech.

Being at Nassau will also give Whitehead a lot of game experience that will be valuable for him. Getting in-game experience can also help his development more than being a redshirted player this fall in Blacksburg and being used on the scout defense.

The exact reasons for Whitehead enrolling at Nassau are unknown whether those reasons involve academics or if he was actually committed to a grayshirt offer and is certain to join the Hokies in January. It seems most likely that Whitehead will arrive in January though there have been signees that never joined the Hokies (Cequan Jefferson, Tabyus Taylor).

Will Eric Whitehead be the only Hokies’ Class of 2015 signee that goes the junior college and prep school route for at least a semester? We will have to wait and see.

Hokies Football: Brandon Facyson Must Stay Healthy In 2015 to Build His Legacy and Draft Stock

Expectations were high for both Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson entering their second seasons in Blacksburg. Both cornerbacks shined as true freshman and had fans excited about how they could end up being the best duo of cornerbacks to ever play for Virginia Tech football.

Fuller was able to blow past all expectations and is on his way to becoming one of the two or three best cornerbacks to ever play for the Hokies. Meanwhile, 2014 was not a good year for Facyson largely due to injuries.

Facyson dealt with a lingering shin injury that caused him to struggle in games against Ohio State and East Carolina. After those two bad games, the Hokies decided to pursue a medical redshirt for Facyson and bench him for the rest of the season due to the shin injury unless other injuries forced him to play.

Then, Brandon Facyson suffered a broken leg in practice in December, ruling him out for all of spring. However, the cornerback from Georgia will be healthy in time for fall practice with everybody expecting him to take his starting job back for the 2015 season across from Kendall Fuller.

The importance of Facyson staying healthy for all of 2015 has already been stated many times, but this isn’t so simple as just saying that he needs a healthy season after injury cost him in 2014.

After 2013, Facyson seemed like one of the top cornerback prospects for the 2016 NFL Draft behind Fuller and Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves. However, the injuries have destroyed his draft stock for next year’s draft, but that can change if he can have a fully healthy 2015 season.

There are plenty of players who have seen injuries prevent themselves from being first round picks and another injury-riddled season would make it just about impossible for Facyson to be a first round pick in a future draft.

If Brandon Facyson can stay healthy in 2015, it wouldn’t surprise me if he has a great season that puts him in the conversation of being a late first round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

A healthy 2015 season should also allow Facyson to show that he has the skills to be a great cornerback. When Facyson was trying to play through his shin injury, fans didn’t realize that he was dealing with an injury still and thought that he should move to safety due to what seemed like below-average speed to go with great ball hawking skills.

Facyson also still has the potential to leave a legacy of greatness instead of one with fans wondering how good he could have been if it wasn’t for injuries. After the 2013 season, many fans were talking about how Facyson and Kendall Fuller had the potential to be the best duo of cornerbacks to ever come through Virginia Tech.

That is definitely still possible, especially with the Hokies having a great chance to have a renaissance year in 2015 along with facing defending national champion Ohio State at home to start the season. Facyson has the talent to be an All-ACC first team cornerback with Fuller this season, but his health is the concern still.

However, another injury-riddled season for Facyson would make fans start to wonder if he could ever reach his potential.  Facyson’s legacy would start to become one of “what if he stayed healthy” instead of being about him and Fuller forming one of the best duos of cornerbacks in program history. It would also be extremely unlikely that he would go in the first or possibly second round due to his injury history.

Staying healthy is a must for Brandon Facyson in 2015 not only for the sake of his career, but also with the great chance for him to rebuild his NFL Draft stock and build his legacy at Virginia Tech this upcoming season.

Hokies at the 2015 ACC Tournament: Virginia Tech vs. North Carolina Preview and Prediction

After missing out in 2014, the Virginia Tech Hokies are back in the ACC Tournament as the number nine seed. However, their number nine seed means that they have to play in a play-in game against the eighth-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels for one of the two remaining spots in the pool play part of the ACC Tournament.

One unique coincidence with this matchup is that North Carolina was the last team the Hokies played in the ACC Tournament when they lost to the Tar Heels in the 2013 ACC Tournament final. Of course, most of both rosters have changed since these two last met in the ACC Tournament, but seniors like Brendon Hayden, Alex Perez, and Sean Keselica may use that as extra motivation.

When the two teams met at English Field earlier this season, the Hokies and Tar Heels split the first two games with Virginia Tech winning 8-3 in game one and UNC winning 11-10 in game two. The third game in the series was cancelled due to weather so in a way, this is kind of that third game except the stakes are much higher this time.

North Carolina will go with All-ACC Second Team pitcher Zac Gallen as their starter today while it seems likely that the Hokies will go with Kit Scheetz. Gallen is not a surprise for the Tar Heels as their ace while Scheetz is a slight surprise given that Keselica is the Hokies’ ace though this may be a sign that his tired arm is becoming a bigger issue.

Scheetz has also made some progress over the latter part of the season and will definitely be ready to compete in this game should he get the start as expected. If Scheetz struggles early, don’t be surprised if the Hokies get him out of there quickly with Jon Woodcock and Aaron McGarity being likely replacements out of the bullpen.

On paper, the Hokies have more high-end talent in their starting lineup while the Tar Heels have more depth though not by much. The 3-4-5 of Alex Perez, Brendon Hayden, and Erik Payne is arguably the best in the ACC with all three hitting over .310 on the season. This trio of hitters have caused plenty of teams issues and they will look to get to Gallen today.

Payne and Perez will also likely have a huge chip on their shoulder after getting shockingly snubbed from the All-ACC teams. Both of these guys have the potential to have big games and put the Hokies in a good position to advance to pool play.

The Hokies will need experience behind the plate in Andrew Mogg today, especially with the Tar Heels’ speed on the base paths. Four North Carolina players have at least 10 stolen bases including sophomore outfielder Tyler Ramirez who has 17 stolen bases.

Ramirez is the Tar Heels’ most dangerous offensive player as not only does he lead the Tar Heels in stolen bases, but he also is tied for the team lead in home runs (9) and RBIs (39) along with leading the Tar Heels in slugging percentage and on-base percentage among players with at least 100 at-bats.

If there is one player that could be an x-factor for the Hokies, it is Sean Keselica. Keselica has commonly been sixth in the order when he isn’t pitching and against ACC competition, he has thrived with a .333 batting average in the 20 ACC games he wasn’t on the mound for. Keselica provides some extra support for the Hokies’ dangerous 3-4-5 that could cause North Carolina some problems. especially if Zac Gallen can’t go the whole game.

This is going to be a hard-fought game, but the Hokies know that there only way to the NCAA Tournament is by winning the ACC Tournament. If Gallen goes eight or more innings, the Tar Heels will be hard to beat. However, the Hokies will get Gallen out early enough to make a late surge as they have done multiple times this season to win this game 7-6 and advance to the pool play stage of the 2015 ACC Tournament.

Virginia Tech Baseball: Erik Payne’s Journey to Leading the Hokies to the ACC Tournament

Virginia is one of the most fertile baseball recruiting states in the country with plenty of talented players in the 757 and in the Richmond metro. The Richmond metro is loaded with baseball talent that has produced even some high MLB Draft picks from players coming straight out of high school.

However, there are always plenty of top Richmond baseball players that end up going all across the country to play college baseball. One of those players in the Class of 2010 was Erik Payne.

Payne was a star for Mills Godwin High School and earned a spot in the VHSCA All-Star Game in 2010 after hitting nearly .500 his senior season. He was recruited by schools across the country and while the Hokies were in the hunt, the third baseman and left fielder made the decision to commit to SEC powerhouse South Carolina.

Payne struggled to find playing time in his first season in Columbia, but things changed during the 2012 season. Payne appeared in 37 games and made 30 starts during the 2012 season as he looked like a future regular starter for the Gamecocks.

Then, Payne had a big moment against the Florida Gators in the College World Series with a three-run triple that helped lead the Gamecocks to victory over Florida. The Gamecocks would make it to the finals of the College World Series, but came up just short against the Arizona Wildcats.

However, it seemed like Payne had a bright future in Columbia, but that turned out to not be true.

In 2013, Erik Payne struggled to touch the field at South Carolina as he made only eight starts in 13 games for the Gamecocks. Payne decided that he needed a change of scenery for his final season of college baseball, and returned to his home state to join the Hokies.

Transferring did mean that Payne would sit out a year before playing his final season of college baseball, but the Hokies gave Payne the fresh start he needed.

This season, Payne has proven that he has what it takes to be a star for a team in one of the best conferences in the country.

Erik Payne has been put in the third and fiith spots in the order as a part of a dangerous middle-of-the-order trio with fellow seniors Alex Perez and Brendon Hayden. This senior trio of hitters has shined in 2015 despite the Hokies’ 27-26 record and ninth place finish in the ACC during the regular season.

Over the latter part of the season, Payne has emerged as the Hokies’ best hitter while playing and starting in all 53 regular season games. Payne finished his first and only regular season with the Hokies with 9 home runs, 53 RBIs, a .347 batting average, and a .449 on-base percentage. Payne also stepped up in big games and provided a lot of clutch hitting throughout the season.

In the final game of the regular season against Pittsburgh, Payne had arguably his best game of the season with two home runs and four RBIs in a 13-7 victory over the Panthers that not only clinched an ACC Tournament spot, but also gave them the nine seed. Payne had a walk-off RBI single early in the season in the tenth inning against Toledo to avoid what could have been a bad loss.

Somehow, Payne’s impressive regular season led him to getting snubbed from the All-ACC teams, which will likely be a chip on his shoulder for the rest of the Hokies’ season, however long that may be.

In 2015, Erik Payne was finally given the chance to shine that many expected him to get in 2013 with the Gamecocks, and he became part of arguably the ACC’s best 3-4-5 lineup combination with Alex Perez and Brendon Hayden.

This season likely will mean that Payne will get selected late in the 2015 MLB Draft and have the chance to work his way up the minor league ladder. However, Payne isn’t done just yet at the collegiate level and will be ready to try to lead the Hokies to an ACC Tournament title no matter how improbable it seems.

Hokies Baseball: Erik Payne, Alex Perez Snubbed From 2015 All-ACC Teams

The Virginia Tech Hokies had one of the better offenses in the ACC this past season , which was critical in helping Virginia Tech get to the 2015 ACC Tournament despite some of the struggles from the pitching staff. Statistically, the Hokies’ numbers don’t stand out as being near the top for overall team statistics due to mid-week struggles, but they are higher up when you only include ACC games.

The Hokies were also built on having four strong hitters with Brendon Hayden and Saige Jenco deservingly earning All-ACC first and third team honors respectively.

However, Hokie fans and analysts were surprised when Erik Payne and Alex Perez weren’t included in the All-ACC teams despite strong senior seasons.

When you look at the numbers, it seems clear that both Payne and Perez were worthy of being on one of the All-ACC teams with both having strong reasons to possibly be on the All-ACC First Team.

The fact that the Hokies finished ninth in the conference likely hurt Payne and Perez though that should not be an excuse for voters, especially since the Hokies’ pitching staff was a big reason for Virginia Tech’s ninth place finish in the ACC. This seems like a situation where the voters just failed to do their due diligence, especially on the ACC newcomer in Payne.

One thing that may have hurt Payne is his poor .914 fielding percentage, but his offensive performance made him worthy of at least being on the All-ACC Third Team. Payne was in the top 10 in the ACC in batting average, on-base percentage, hits, RBIs, and total bases while being just outside the top 10 in slugging percentage and home runs.

Payne was the ideal run producer in his first and only season in Blacksburg with a .347 batting average, .449 on-base percentage, 9 home runs, 53 RBIs, and a .545 slugging percentage. These are the offensive numbers of someone who should absolutely be on one of the three All-ACC teams, whether it be as a third baseman or as an outfielder.

Alex Perez also has a strong case to why he should have been on the All-ACC team. Perez made only nine errors while playing both second base and shortstop along with being one of the best hitters for the Hokies this past season.

Perez led the ACC in triples with seven along with being in the top 10 in runs and walks. Overall, Perez’s offensive numbers are clearly All-ACC caliber with a .320 batting average, five home runs, 34 RBIs, a .435 on-base percentage, and a .510 slugging percentage.

Perez was smart on the basepaths and did a great job setting the table for Brendon Hayden and Erik Payne as proven by how he was 3 for 4 in his stolen base attempts along with scoring 56 runs.

Erik Payne and Alex Perez formed arguably the toughest 3-4-5 in the ACC with Brendon Hayden. This trio of hitters seemed to find many ways to step up late in games to help the Hokies get some critical wins to put them in the 2015 ACC Tournament.

The Hokie offense wouldn’t have been the same without the Perez-Hayden-Payne middle of the order along with Saige Jenco at the leadoff spot. All four should have made one of the three All-ACC teams, yet somehow only Hayden and Jenco made it.

You can try explaining it in whatever way you want to, but the snubbing of Perez and Payne is almost certainly inexplicable and a failure by many voters to do their due diligence when choosing their All-ACC teams.

Hokies Baseball: Brendon Hayden and Saige Jenco Make 2015 All-ACC Teams

After finishing at the bottom of the ACC in 2014, Patrick Mason and the Virginia Tech Hokies were looking to bounce back in the 2015 season. Entering this season, expectations were high for the Hokies’ offense, especially after Brendon Hayden and Sean Keselica both decided to stay at Virginia Tech instead of going to the minor leagues after being selected late in the 2014 MLB Draft.

The Hokies saw their offense have some very impressive performances, which led to two players being named to All-ACC teams including one to the All-ACC First Team.

Senior first baseman Brendon Hayden was named to the All-ACC First Team, while redshirt sophomore center fielder Saige Jenco was named to the All-ACC Third Team. This was the first time the Hokies had multiple players named to the All-ACC teams since 2013 after only Mark Zagunis earned All-ACC honors last season.

Hayden’s decision to return to Virginia Tech paid off as he became the fifth Hokie to earn All-ACC First Team honors, joining Austin Wates, Andrew Rash, Chad Pinder, and Tyler Horan. Hayden’s strong senior season likely will give him a chance to be picked in the seventh to tenth rounds of the 2015 MLB Draft where many of the top seniors will be selected.

Hayden was the Hokies’ star cleanup hitter with 11 home runs, 51 RBIs, 17 doubles, a .314 batting average, and a slugging percentage of .556. Hayden was consistent for the Hokies throughout the season with some big moments including a walk-off home run against Boston College on Senior Day.

Hayden will be missed in the cleanup spot for the Hokies, especially since the most home runs hit by a player who will be returning is three by Saige Jenco. Hayden made the right decision to return to Blacksburg and his selection to the All-ACC First Team is validation of that.

After being snubbed from last year’s All-ACC teams, Saige Jenco received the recognition he deserved with a selection to the All-ACC Third Team. Jenco’s future seems to be fairly bright though that may mean he will only have one more season in Blacksburg with Jenco having the potential to go in the first five to six rounds of the 2016 MLB Draft with another strong season.

Jenco did have a slump at the plate at one point in the season, but was a very good cleanup hitter and table setter with a .323 batting average, 3 home runs, 26 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases in 11 attempts. Jenco also was excellent defensively with only one error and two outfield assists in 53 games.

With the talent Jenco has, expect him to continue to get better and don’t be surprised if he ends up becoming the sixth Hokie to earn a spot on the All-ACC First Team next season.

Congrats to Brendon Hayden and Saige Jenco on being named to the All-ACC first and third teams respectively.

Hokies Baseball: Virginia Tech Will Play in the 2015 ACC Tournament

The Virginia Tech Hokies got off to a rough start to their series with the Pittsburgh Panthers, losing the first two games on the road. However, the Hokies did receive some good news when the Wake Forest Demon Deacons lost the second game of their three-game series with the Duke Blue Devils in Durham.

The loss by Wake Forest meant that all Virginia Tech needed to do to make the 2015 ACC Tournament was to either beat Pittsburgh or have Wake Forest lose the final game of their series with Duke.

The third game of the Hokies’ series against Pittsburgh was delayed for about an hour, which meant that the Wake Forest-Duke game would finish first. This earlier start allowed Hokie Nation to know before the end of the Virginia Tech-Pittsburgh game that the Hokies would be playing in the ACC Tournament after Wake Forest suffered another loss against Duke.

However, it doesn’t seem like the Hokies recognized that they had made it into the ACC Tournament just yet. Instead of losing focus, the Hokies rallied after being down 7-6 against Pittsburgh to have a seven-run eighth inning headlined by a two-run home run from Erik Payne, which was his second home run of the game, and a grand slam from Andrew Mogg.

Luke Scherzer shut down Pittsburgh in the final two innings to help the Hokies finish off a 13-7 victory over the Panthers. This victory will make the Hokies the #9 seed in the ACC Tournament after Georgia Tech suffered a blowout loss at Miami by a score of 17-4.

After a disappointing 2014 season due to a massive group of players leaving the program for Major League Baseball, the Hokies have bounced back and shown signs of progress in Patrick Mason’s second season.

Mason and the Hokies still have some rebuilding to do as Virginia Tech will lose Erik Payne, Alex Perez, and Brendon Hayden from the middle of the batting order along with Sean Keselica from the top of the rotation. Mason has the young pitchers to replace Keselica, but replacing the Hokies’ middle of the order will definitely be a challenge with guys like Raheim Cooper and Mac Caples needing to step up in 2016.

However, the Hokies have found a way to get back to the ACC Tournament. Now, the Hokies will look to make it into the pool play part of the tournament, and try to somehow find a way to win it and book a spot in the NCAA Tournament. That might not be very realistic, but the Hokies have given themselves a chance to do just that.

Hokies Football: Game Times Announced for Virginia Tech’s Games Against Ohio State and Furman

The Hokies are less than three months from opening the 2015 College Football season at home on Labor Day night against the Ohio State Buckeyes. The excitement in Blacksburg has already been growing with most Hokie fans believing that they will have a chance to once again take down the Buckeyes, this time at home in front of what is sure to be a rowdy, capacity crowd at Lane Stadium.

Last season, Hokie Nation had to deal with four noon or 12:30 kickoffs out of five Saturday games. Hokie fans will be hoping that doesn’t happen this year, and will be happy to hear that they won’t have to deal with an early kickoff till at least October.

The ACC announced the game times for the Hokies’ first two games today. Unsurprisingly, kickoff for the Hokies’ season opener against defending national champion Ohio State will be at 8pm on ESPN. Meanwhile, the Hokies will face Furman at 3:30pm the following Saturday with the game slated to be shown on ESPN3.

It was previously known that the Hokies were going to face N.C. State at 8pm on Friday, October 9th and take on Georgia Tech in Atlanta at 7:30pm on Thursday, November 12th.

There may have been some concern about the Furman game being an early kickoff, but it is not very surprising to see that kickoff at 3:30pm. This game is just like the William & Mary game last season that kicked off at 3:30pm. Of course, that game did end up being picked up by ESPNews, but do no expect this to be more than a ESPN3 and local cable provider game given that this game is during the second week of the season.

There is absolutely no surprise that the Ohio State game will be in primetime on Labor Day night as arguably the signature game of the weekend over Alabama-Wisconsin in Dallas and Auburn-Louisville in Atlanta.

If this game wasn’t on Labor Day night, it would be much more likely that College Gameday would consider coming to Blacksburg. However, you can’t rule out College Gameday coming on Saturday though that would be historic for them to arrive two days before the game they’re at.

However, it would not be surprising to see College Gameday show up in Blacksburg in some form on Labor Day leading up to the game along with a potential SportsCenter presence at Virginia Tech that day. For fans who will be watching the game at home, don’t be surprised if ESPN’s number 1 team of Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit calls the primetime showdown.

Folks, college football is less than three months away from returning to Blacksburg in what may be the biggest home opener that the Hokies have ever had hosting the defending national champions. The excitement is only going to exponentially grow this summer leading up to a game that Hokie fans hope will be one to remember.

Hokies Recruiting: Virginia Tech is a Finalist for 4-Star QB Dwayne Haskins

Since Scot Loeffler has arrived in Blacksburg, the Virginia Tech Hokies have had a fair amount of success recruiting quarterbacks. Andrew Ford and Chris Durkin were both solid additions from the Class of 2014, but Loeffler hit a home run when he was able to land four-star quarterback Dwayne Lawson after he was previously committed to Miami.

Now, Loeffler and the Hokies are a finalist for another highly-rated quarterback.

The Hokies are one of seven finalists for Dwayne Haskins of The Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland. The other six finalists are Alabama, Rutgers, Maryland, Florida, Notre Dame, and Penn State. This group of seven schools represents a mix of conferences with three Big 10 schools, two SEC schools, one football independent, and one ACC school.

Haskins is one of the best quarterback recruits in the nation and has already been given a spot in the Elite 11 competition. Haskins is ranked as the fifth best pro-style quarterback by the 247 Sports Composite, fourth best by Rivals, and the second best pocket-passing quarterback by ESPN. Haskins is also a top 70 prospect nationally that is ranked 68th best by Rivals, 61st best by the 247 Sports Composite, and 25th best by ESPN.

Haskins is one of the few elite quarterbacks in the Class of 2016 that is still uncommitted with all seven of these schools hoping to add the elite quarterback prospect. Of the seven finalists, only Penn State has a quarterback currently committed from the Class of 2016.

The Hokies enter tomorrow’s announcement as one of the longshots to get Dwayne Haskins. However, Scot Loeffler and Virginia Tech have done a good job of making a strong recruiting push to give themselves a chance at getting Haskins.

However, there have been rumors that Haskins could look to also play with four-star wide receiver Tino Ellis. The Hokies are seen as the leaders for Ellis and that could help them with Haskins though it is unknown how big the desire is between Haskins and Ellis to play college football at the same program.

The Maryland Terrapins are seen as the favorite for Haskins, though the four-star quarterback is seen as a must-get for their recruiting class. Maryland has put a lot of energy in trying to get arguably the best prospect in their state. Not getting Haskins will be a major disappointment for a Maryland recruiting class that has the potential to be very good given the quality talent pool this year just north of the Potomac.

Haskins’s list of finalists does suggest that he would like to stay close to home with the closest three Big 10 schools being on his list along with the Hokies and Notre Dame who both will play a fair amount of games not too far from his home. Florida seems to be on this list largely due to the success Jim McElwain has had with developing quarterbacks along with the chance for early playing time while Alabama’s national power can’t be forgotten in any player’s recruitment.

The Hokies have a chance at getting Dwayne Haskins, but are definitely in the group of longshots behind Maryland, Rutgers, Florida, and Alabama. However, you never know sometimes what school a recruit will choose until they put on their future school’s hat.

Hokies Basketball: Virginia Tech Will Face Northwestern in the 2015 ACC-Big 10 Challenge

Last year, the Virginia Tech Hokies suffered a close loss on the road at the Penn State Nittany Lions in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge. This ACC-Big 10 Challenge game provided the Hokies with a good early season test on a non-conference schedule that was quite weak outside of a game against Northern Iowa in Cancun.

The Hokies expect to make a lot of progress in Buzz Williams’s second season in Blacksburg largely due to some quality additions including transfers Seth Allen and Zach LeDay along with commits Chris Clarke, Kerry Blackshear, Justin Robinson, and Johnny Hamilton.

During the 2015-2016 season, the ACC-Big 10 Challenge will be a very good early-season test for the Hokies along with the chance for a former Hokie to make a quick return to Blacksburg.

The Virginia Tech Hokies will face the Northwestern Wildcats in the 2015 ACC-Big 10 Challenge at Cassell Coliseum on December 1st.

One of the biggest storylines surrounding this matchup is that Joey van Zegeren will be making his return to Cassell Coliseum. Van Zegeren had an up-and-down career in Blacksburg with not a great ending after being suspended indefinitely before deciding to transfer for his final season.

It will be interesting to see what the fan reaction will be for van Zegeren along with how the Dutch big man will play in his return to Blacksburg. Van Zegeren’s motivation is likely to be an x-factor in this game that could make this matchup more challenging for the Hokies.

This matchup also pits two rising programs against each other with Buzz Williams and Chris Collins still in the midst of rebuilds at their respective schools. However, Collins has been at Northwestern for an extra year, and will be looking to see his Wildcats finish above .500 next season. Williams will also set the expectations high for the Hokies with this game being a great opportunity to get a quality early-season victory.

Many fans will be happy to see the Hokies hosting at least one quality opponent after a weak home non-conference schedule last season. It also seems likely that the Hokies will face West Virginia in Blacksburg next fall, but at least the Hokies have this guarantee of a quality home game during the non-conference season.

The ACC-Big 10 Challenge will be back in Blacksburg in 2015, providing Virginia Tech fans with a quality home game against Northwestern that also involves the return of a former Hokie, Joey van Zegeren.