Justin Fuente has had spring practice on lock down for his first spring in charge of the Virginia Tech Hokies and that has led to limited details leaking out of practice. However, there has been enough information to here about three under-the-radar players that are having strong springs so far.
OT Parker Osterloh
With Yosuah Nijman injured, Parker Osterloh has stepped up so far this spring and has the starting right tackle locked down with Yosuah Nijman being the only one who could push him out of the lineup at this point though that could change depending on how good of shape Demetri Moore is in.
Osterloh has always had tremendous size for the offensive tackle spot at 6’8”, 336 pounds but is now starting to emerge as the impressive offensive tackle that his size suggests he has the potential to become. Osterloh moved inside to guard during last season, but an offensive linemen of his size makes more sense at tackle, and Osterloh is now starting to break through under Vance Vice.
Many expected it to be Demetri Moore pushing for a spot against Jonathan McLaughlin and Yosuah Nijman, but Parker Osterloh has stepped up so far, and may surprise everybody.
WR Divine Deablo
Divine Deablo is one of the three early enrollee wide receivers battling for the number three spot behind Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips. So far, news coming out of Virginia Tech practices suggest that Deablo has an early lead in the competition to earn that spot behind Ford and Phillips.
Deablo was seen as an impressive athlete with a huge ceiling, but entered the collegiate landscape as a fairly raw wide receiver. Getting him onto campus in the spring has clearly helped him take the next steps and with Deablo reportedly having the lead for the third wide receiver spot, it may be hard for anyone else to get it as Deablo has the potential to be a nightmare on the outside due to his athleticism and great size at 6’3”-6’4”.
Divine Deablo seems to be emerging early on in the spring and while there is plenty of time for a lot to change, Deablo is going to be a hard player to get back ahead of.
DE Houshun Gaines
After redshirting last season, Houshun Gaines added some weight and put in a whole lot of work this offseason. Now, the former under-the-radar low three-star defensive end from North Carolina is emerging as a serious contender to be a part of the two-deep at defensive end over fellow redshirt freshmen Darius Fullwood and Trevon Hill.
On top of that, Gaines seems to potentially be in the hunt to push Vinny Mihota and Seth Dooley for the starting defensive end spot across from Ken Ekanem. Of course, indications are that Mihota has also looked fairly good so far while Dooley is injured, but Gaines may have a chance to put himself in the driver’s seat to be the future replacement for Ekanem.
Houshun Gaines may have been one of the most under-the-radar recruits when he arrived in Blacksburg, but the North Carolina native may be on the brink of a big breakout that could even have him starting across from Ken Ekanem by the time Virginia Tech kicks off the Justin Fuente era against Liberty.