For this year’s Virginia Tech MVP, four different guys received votes including the top 3 on our top 10 Hokies countdown: Tremaine Edmunds, Cam Phillips, and Greg Stroman. When picking the team MVP, there’s a balance in making the pick between who was the best player and who was the most important player.
That’s why for the second-straight year, the #1 player on our top 10 Hokies countdown is not our MVP selection.
Cam Phillips was selected as the 2017 Virginia Tech MVP by The Tech Lunch Pail staff. Phillips is the second offensive player to be selected for this award, joining Jerod Evans. Phillips is also the first wide receiver to be named the VT MVP by The Tech Lunch Pail.
There’s no doubt that Cam Phillips was extremely valuable to the success of Virginia Tech’s offense this year. Given the lack of experience almost everywhere outside of the offensive line, VT needed Phillips to step up, and he did time and time again even while playing with a sports hernia injury throughout the regular season.
Despite the injury, Cam Phillips led the Hokies with 71 receptions and 964 receiving yards, numbers that were only slightly off his 2016 career highs of 76 receptions for 983 yards. Phillips did this despite the fact that he also played two fewer games this season. Phillips set a pair of career highs with 7 receiving touchdowns and an average of 13.6 yards per reception, the highest among VT receivers who caught at least 15 passes.
On his way to leading the Hokies in receptions and receiving yards, Phillips became the Hokies’ all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards, passing former teammate Isaiah Ford. Phillips also earned All-ACC First Team honors for the first time in his career.
While there are strong cases that Tremaine Edmunds and Greg Stroman had better seasons, it’s hard to argue that those 2 were more valuable to the Hokies than Phillips. VT’s offense did fairly well at the end of the season without Phillips, but you could tell that they were still missing something without Phillips. Phillips was also our Offensive Hokie of the Game six times, by far the most, despite the fact that he received the most defensive attention.
Tremaine Edmunds will go down as one of the best linebackers in Virginia Tech football history after a great season on his way to All-ACC First Team honors. Edmunds led the Hokies in tackles (109), tackles for loss (14), sacks (5.5), and forced fumbles (3) as one of America’s best run defenders. However, Edmunds was more than that as a very good open-field tackler, a quality blitzer, and even solid in pass coverage.
Looking ahead, Edmunds is likely to be Virginia Tech’s third 1st round pick in the past 10 drafts, joining David Wilson (2012-32nd overall) and Kyle Fuller (2014-14th overall). With a big NFL Combine, Edmunds has a chance to be the Hokies’ highest draft pick DeAngelo Hall (2004-8th overall) given his impressive size and athleticism. Edmunds is one of the few consensus top linebackers along with Georgia’s Roquan Smith.
Greg Stroman was one of the best cornerbacks in college football as Stroman was able to consistently shut down his part of the field and limit QBs’ options. Stroman had 4 interceptions, 11 pass deflections, and 20 tackles on his way to All-ACC First Team honors. The senior cornerback was extremely impressive and you could argue that he was snubbed from some All-American honors.
Stroman was also one of the best punt returners in the country averaging a career high 11.3 yards per return and scoring 2 touchdowns. Stroman’s punt returning earned him All-ACC Honorable Mention recognition as a specialist though you could even make a case for Stroman to have been on the All-ACC First or Second Team as a specialist. Stroman’s improvement on punt returns from freshman to senior year was impressive and a testament not only to James Shibest’s coaching the past two years but also to Stroman’s work ethic.
Recap our top 10 Hokies countdown and our TLP Awards here.