The NCAA made some big news last week when they announced a change to their redshirt policy for football. The rule change stated that football players could play in no more than four games and still be allowed to use a redshirt.
This significant change received praise from across the country including Justin Fuente.
DT Cam Goode
Cam Goode’s name may be a surprise inclusion on this list, but Goode seems like an almost fitting addition to this list. Many consider Goode a frontrunner to be the Hokies’ fifth defensive tackle with Jarrod Hewitt and Xavier Burke appearing likely to claim both of the backup defensive tackle spots.
The biggest value with having a fifth defensive tackle is having a guy who can move into the rotation if someone in the two-deep gets hurt. For most teams including the Hokies, that’s the only way that you’ll see a fifth defensive tackle play. However, you also want your fifth defensive tackle to be able to get a few reps in blowouts so that he can stay sharp for more important games.
With this rule change, the Hokies will have the opportunity to get Cam Goode some experience in the early season while also having the opportunity to preserve his full four years of eligibility.
While Goode is a guy who could earn a starting defensive tackle job in 2019, it’s hard to imagine him climbing ahead of both Jarrod Hewitt and Xavier Burke this fall. As long as that is the case, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Hokies to try not to redshirt him to preserve his future eligibility especially if he is a fifth defensive tackle who is mostly used in an emergency role.
However, this rule should also give Goode a chance to earn a significant role on the defensive line if he can outplay Hewitt and Burke in garbage time scenarios and early season games. The fact that Goode can get some valuable experience as a fifth defensive tackle and have a chance to earn a big role on the defensive line without VT having to risk his redshirt to do so if he isn’t able to.
CBs Nadir Thompson/Armani Chatman
Jermaine Waller benefited from arriving early and seems poised to play next fall at cornerback for the Hokies. Meanwhile, Nadir Thompson and Armani Chatman are just arriving and will look to push for meaningful playing time this fall. However, they will face a tougher challenge to earn that playing time given how they’ll be learning the Hokies’ defense while trying to compete for that playing time.
However, this new role will give Thompson and Chatman opportunities to not only gain experience, but also make their case to earn regular playing time.
VT’s cornerback situation is as open as we’ve seen any position for the Hokies in years and before this rule change, Thompson and Chatman may be limited to impressing in practice to earn major playing time. Now, Thompson and Chatman both will have chances in some early season games against weaker competition to gain garbage time reps to show that they have what it takes to be a more integral part of VT’s defense.
Thompson is a contender to earn the Hokies’ punt return job so this rule may not end up affecting him but for Chatman and possibly Thompson, this opens a door for them to compete for playing time while not having to risk their redshirt if they don’t earn it.
QB Quincy Patterson
There may be no position where live game experience is more valuable than quarterback. Since Justin Fuente has been in charge, the Hokies have redshirted both Josh Jackson and Hendon Hooker as true freshmen when it became clear that they wouldn’t be the starting quarterbacks. However, Fuente would have likely wanted to get them some experience in blowouts, but previously didn’t have that option.
Now, Fuente will have the ability to give Quincy Patterson some opportunities to play as a true freshman without having to burn a year of his eligibility.
There may not be an incoming quarterback that has drawn as much attention among Hokie fans as Patterson has since the last time VT had an Elite 11 quarterback in Tyrod Taylor. Unlike Taylor, it’s extremely unlikely that Patterson can earn the starting job or major playing as a true freshman no matter what happens with Josh Jackson.
However, this new rule will allow Fuente to give Patterson the chance to play some this fall and get some experience in blowouts that could be quite valuable in his development. If there is one thing that this rule may benefit more than anything else, it’s the development of quarterbacks who are now able to redshirt and gain game experience.