Today, Justin Fuente and the Virginia Tech Hokies held their first press conference ahead of the 2016 season as they make final preparations to kick off fall practice this week. Fuente led off the press conference and revealed some big news quite early on regarding the status of one Hokie.
Fuente tells media that Henri Murphy will be eligible this fall #Hokies
— The Tech Lunch Pail (@techlunchpaild) August 2, 2016
Justin Fuente revealed that athlete Henri Murphy will be eligible to play this fall after it previously being reported that Murphy would have to sit out and redshirt this fall. Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch also gave us more insight into why Murphy’s status for this fall had suddenly changed.
Source: D-II Henderson State granted JUCO transfer Henri Murphy release from his NLI, clearing way for him to play this year for #Hokies.
— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) August 2, 2016
Murphy was a late addition that reclassified from 2017 to 2016 to join the Hokies this fall out of junior college as an intriguing speedy athlete. Murphy was expected to start out at the cornerback spot though the Virginia Tech roster now lists him as a wide receiver, seeming to indicate that the Hokies have already decided to move him over to offense though that could change if Murphy is unable to get playing time on that side of the ball.
Murphy’s speed and agility makes him a serious possibility to be the Hokies’ slot receiver with Virginia Tech not really having someone in contention behind Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips that profiles as a speedy slot guy other than Sam Denmark to an extent.
However, high upside guys like Phil Patterson and Divine Deablo could allow the Hokies to use Phillips in the slot some while Bucky Hodges will likely be used some in a slot role like many top tight ends have been over the years including Dallas Clark and Jimmy Graham.
One role that Murphy does seem certain to be a frontrunner to get is at kick returner where Murphy has the makings of a very dangerous return man with his speed and agility. The Hokies also really haven’t had someone lock down a kick return spot over the past few years with Greg Stroman being used only as a punt returner.
For the Hokies, this is big, exciting news to hear that Henri Murphy will be able to play this fall and make an impact for the Hokies.