The Virginia Tech Hokies lost a few players before the start of spring practice including multiple linebackers, hurting the depth at a position that already suffered the losses of Chase Williams and Derek Di Nardo due to graduation. The Hokies are thin on scholarship players at the mike linebacker spot with freshman Carson Lydon already becoming the backup.
However, the Hokies have received some more depth at linebacker with one player returning to the Virginia Tech roster.
Linebacker Dahman McKinnon has returned to the Hokies as listed on the football roster on Virginia Tech’s athletic website. The roster is still being updated with the new arrivals, and is still going back and forth between the updated roster and the spring roster. However, all signs show that McKinnon has made his return to the Virginia Tech roster.
McKinnon will have to work to climb up the depth chart and regain a spot on special teams, but the redshirt junior seems ready to do that. McKinnon will compete with Carson Lydon to earn the backup mike linebacker job with Andrew Motuapuaka.
If McKinnon can earn this backup job, the Hokies seem likely to redshirt Lydon with the Florida native being the heir to Motuapuaka in a few years. Bud Foster and company seem excited about the future of Lydon, and may believe Lydon is already to have a big role as a backup, but McKinnon seems likely to earn the spot.
McKinnon has bulked up some to 221 pounds from previously being around the 210-pound mark. McKinnon has always been known as a slim, fast linebacker that can get down the field quickly, allowing him to be very effective on kick and punt coverage.
The Hokies have developed some quality, walk-on linebackers, but the return of McKinnon is a big boost at a mike linebacker spot that only had two scholarship players at the position this spring.