Virginia Tech has now seen their first player enter the transfer portal since the start of fall camp with redshirt freshman WR DeJuan Ellis electing to do so as first reported by Evan Watkins of 247 Sports.
— EvanGWatkins247 (@EvanGWatkins247) August 10, 2019
Ellis was seen as the frontrunner to be the #2 slot receiver this fall behind Hezekiah Grimsley after moving from quarterback during last year’s fall camp. Now, the door has opened for Tayvion Robinson to step into that role though given the praise Robinson has already received, you have to wonder if Robinson was already pushing and possibly passing Ellis on the depth chart.
Even if DeJuan Ellis was getting passed on the depth chart, his speed was undeniable and would have likely given him the ability to have some sort of role maybe as a utility player to use on screens, jet sweeps, and other plays where his high-end speed would have been of great use. Fortunately, the Hokies have some other options to use in roles like that including talented sophomore WR Tre Turner whose speed allowed him to have a few big plays on jet sweeps last season.
Ellis’ decision to enter the transfer portal does hurt the Hokies’ depth in the slot. However, given the development of backup tight end James Mitchell to go along with starting TE Dalton Keene, the Hokies have some options to pair with Grimsley on the opposite side of him in the slot should they go that route at times.
His departure also opens up a scholarship in a recruiting cycle where the Hokies know that their scholarship numbers are extremely limited due to another very small senior class. The Hokies could try to make a late push for a grad transfer with the room they have for this year but given the fact that the Hokies weren’t already despite having a couple spots, it would be very surprising to see VT make a move like that after Ellis’ decision.
Of note, the Hokies have had a pair of players already return to the roster in 2019 after entering the transfer portal in QB Hendon Hooker and RB Deshawn McClease. However, any return now would likely come after missing valuable practice time that would likely drop him down the depth chart and make it harder to earn playing time this season unlike Hooker and McClease who went in and out of the transfer portal during portions of offseason workouts.