Virginia Tech has an elite trio of cornerbacks that helps give them one of the best defensive back units in America headlined by the elite cornerback trio of Greg Stroman, Brandon Facyson, and Adonis Alexander.
This trio proved to be quite good last season, but the Hokies may be without one of their three talented cornerbacks for their season opener against West Virginia.
CBs coach Brian Mitchell said that he has “no idea” whether Brandon Facyson will be able to play against West Virginia due to a wrist injury.
“We’ll see. I have no idea. It is going to be based off of what our trainer says, what Coach Fuente feels comfortable with and, what Brandon is able to do; so that’s not in my department. It’s my department to get him ready in the classroom and on the field; and if he is on the field, we’ll get him ready.” – Brian Mitchell on Brandon Facyson’s status for VT’s opener against West Virginia
Facyson would be a disappointing loss as the Hokies would lose the luxury of being able to rotate three high-end cornerbacks in and out of the game along with losing a veteran who has lots of experience, though the Hokies have quite an experienced starting defense as a whole.
Facyson has dealt with some injuries throughout his collegiate career including knee injuries that forced him to redshirt in 2014. Despite that injury, Facyson has played quite well over the past 2 seasons and while he doesn’t have an interception, he has double-digit pass breakups in each of those two seasons (10 in 2015, 11 in 2016); a great indication of the high level that he has played at.
Facyson also started all 14 games for the Hokies last season with him and Greg Stroman being consistently at the top of the Hokies’ two-deep with Alexander as the “backup” who basically was a third starter receiving just as many reps as the two “starting cornerbacks”.
While Facyson isn’t at 100% yet, he has been making plenty of progress according to Brian Mitchell.
“We are getting more out of him than I thought we would. He is starting to go through some drills right now, non-contact drills, but you got to kind of tone it back a little bit because he is doing some things that kind of make you a little nervous, but he’s getting some good football in right now.” – Brian Mitchell on Brandon Facyson’s injury recovery
This definitely has to be encouraging for the hopes that Facyson can play in the season opener against West Virginia especially with there being ways for a cornerback with a wrist injury to be able to safely play even if that injury still isn’t 100%.
This is where the Hokies are definitely fortunate to have the luxury of having three cornerbacks who could start at almost every college football program in America and all of whom could receive some sort of All-ACC honors after the season. While the Hokies’ depth after this trio is untested, there is no doubt that the Hokie fans have a great security blanket on the outside in having Stroman and Alexander if Facyson is unable to play.
However, this may be the one game, other than when VT faces Clemson, that the Hokies would least want to be without one of their talented trio of cornerbacks especially with West Virginia wide open spread passing attack that should see plenty of four and five receiver sets. This game would likely be one where the Hokies will want to run a lot of nickel packages to get all three of their talented cornerbacks on the field consistently if all three are available.
The good news is that the Hokies still have a few weeks to get Brandon Facyson ready for the season opener at West Virginia while the worst case scenario still means that Virginia Tech’s starting cornerbacks will be Greg Stroman and Adonis Alexander; and an example why there’s no such thing as having too many talented cornerbacks.