The Virginia Tech Hokies had their first scrimmage of spring football this past week with the third week of practice kicking off today. Yesterday, some significant news broke regarding a couple of position changes for two players who were question marks to stay at their initial positions.
The first player to make a change was Joel Caleb who has made the move from running back to wide receiver. Caleb joins a wide open battle for playing time at wide receiver behind the dangerous starting duo of Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips.
Part of the reason for the move for Caleb may be due to the emergence of Travon McMillian who played quite well in the first spring scrimmage. Caleb currently would project to be behind J.C. Coleman, Marshawn Williams, Trey Edmunds, and McMillian on the depth chart next fall. Caleb has a lot of potential still, and a move to wide receiver is a last ditch effort by the Hokies to see if they can take advantage of some of that potential.
The amount of playing time that is available for the third wide receiver may not be as much as expected given the fact that Scot Loeffler seems prepared to line Bucky Hodges on the outside a lot this season with Ryan Malleck being kept in a traditional tight end spot.
Caleb is definitely right in the mix to become the number 3 wide receiver, especially since Demitri Knowles, Kevin Asante, and Jaylen Bradshaw did not play in the opening scrimmage. Caleb may have some ground to make up, but the upside of Caleb makes this very intriguing.
The question that now remains is whether Zohn Burden can get some of that potential out of Joel Caleb and turn him into a dangerous wide receiver.
The other big move was that early-enrollee Yosuah Nijman has been moved from defensive end to offensive tackle. Nijman is a great athlete and has tremendous size, but never had the speed to be a defensive end. However, he definitely has enough speed to go with his tremendous size to be a very dangerous offensive tackle.
The position battle at offensive tackle is wide open with Jonathan McLaughlin being the only one that has a decent grasp on one of the two starting spots. Nijman will have a transition to make, but doing that now definitely helps his chances of starting against Ohio State on Labor Day night.
Nijman will likely join Austin Clark at the bottom of the group, but that duo could be the starting duo of offensive tackles for years to come whether that were to end up happening at some point this season or down the road in 2016 or 2017.
Yosuah Nijman may not have worked out at defensive end, but offensive tackle seems like a potentially great fit for the 6’7” freshman.