2017 Virginia Tech Football Mid-Season Awards

By: Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP | Oct 14, 2017
Virginia Tech has gotten off to a 5-1 start headlined by a win over West Virginia. The Hokies have built on last season's 10-4 finish with a big win over West Virginia to start the season and no surprise upsets so far. The Hokies' defense has been quite good through the six games while the Hokies' offense hasn't experienced much of a drop-off due to the departures of Jerod Evans, Isaiah Ford, and Bucky Hodges. Virginia Tech still has room for improvement, but they still can achieve all of their goals despite the loss to Clemson. Since we are six games in to the season, The Tech Lunch Pail has made our picks for some mid-season awards.

MVP and Best Offensive Player: Cam Phillips

Cam Phillips was our unanimous selection for the Midseason MVP and Best Offensive Player. Phillips is having the best season any Virginia Tech wide receiver has ever had, and should own at least five of the six major single-season and career receiving records as long as he stays healthy. Phillips has been impressive with 42 catches for 608 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns including an average of 14.5 yards per reception. Before injuries limited Phillips to an 11-yard reception, Phillips had at least 6 catches and 70 receiving yards in his first five games this season. Phillips broke Virginia Tech's single-game reception record against East Carolina with 14 receptions for 189 yards and 3 touchdowns. Teams have tried to find ways to contain Phillips, but no one has been able to do so. Phillips has done it all from using his speed and great route-running to his advantage to winning some 50-50 balls. Phillips has been one of the best receivers in America, and there is no sign of him slowing down.

Best Defensive Player: Tremaine Edmunds

This was not a unanimous choice, but Tremaine Edmunds has played quite well through six games and is showing America why he could be an All-American, and will have a long NFL career. Edmunds has played well leading the Hokies with 50 tackles and 2 forced fumbles along with 4.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Edmunds has made some big plays this season and also earned All-ACC Midseason honors from ESPN. Tremaine Edmunds continues to be a player that every opposing offensive coordinator looks to take out of the game given his elite talent. Edmunds has a special blend of athleticism, size, and football IQ that has helped him develop into one of the best linebackers Virginia Tech has ever had. If this does end up being Edmunds's last season in Blacksburg, he is putting together another strong season to end his VT career on. Greg Stroman and Andrew Motuapuaka also received a vote in our poll. Motuapuaka has been steady at mike linebacker with 44 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, a team-leading 2.5 sacks, 4 QB hurries, 1 forced fumble, and 4 pass breakups as one of the ACC's most underrated linebackers. Stroman has been arguably the best cornerback in the ACC. According to Pro Football Focus, Stroman has the second-lowest opposing passer rating among ACC cornerbacks entering this week. Stroman leads the Hokies with 8 pass breakups plus 1 interception as Stroman has consistently shut down opposing receivers in man coverage.

Biggest Surprise: Joey Slye and Sean Savoy

There was a tie for our biggest surprise between a positive surprise (Sean Savoy) and a disappointing surprise (Joey Slye). Savoy has been the Hokies' best true freshman while Slye has had his fair share of struggles that no one expected. Sean Savoy has been dynamic and a quality second option after Cam Phillips this season. Savoy stepped up for Virginia Tech last week against Boston College with 9 catches for 139 yards and a touchdown on his way to earning ACC Rookie of the Week honors. Savoy has averaged 12.5 yards per reception as his speed has given opponents plenty of problems and make him a big play threat. Expectations were non-existent for Savoy when he arrived over the summer, but Savoy has surpassed even the highest expectations anyone may have had for him. Joey Slye struggled early in the season with three missed field goals in Virginia Tech's two big games against Clemson and West Virginia. Slye missed five field goals and had a sixth field goal blocked in his first six games with three of those misses and blocks coming from inside 40 yards. Last week was big for Slye as he made all three of his field goal attempts. His performance was encouraging even with all three field goals coming from inside 35 yards. Slye struggled early this season, but last week may have been a turning point for him. Steven Peoples also received a vote. The Galax native has given the Hokies a power back when healthy that can gain an extra yard or two on just about any carry. Oscar Bradburn also received a vote as the Australian punter has been very good so far. Bradburn has averaged 43.8 yards per punt while doing a great job of balancing distance with hang time.

Best Rookie: Josh Jackson

Josh Jackson has exceeded expectations in the first half of his debut season for the Hokies leading Virginia Tech to a 5-1 start while being set to break every VT passing record for freshmen. Jackson has some very good numbers with 1,700 passing yards, 65.6% completion rate, 13 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and an average of 8.85 yards per attempt. Jackson's completion rate is particularly impressive for a young quarterback while his passer rating of 158.2 is among the top 20 quarterbacks in the nation. Jackson hasn't given the Hokies the same running threat as Jerod Evans, but he has been a more accurate passer with a passing game that seems more diverse this season. Jackson's football IQ has been particularly impressive as he has played with the maturity of an older player. Jackson has been arguably the best freshman quarterback in America, and a big reason why VT is ranked 15th in the nation. Sean Savoy has exceeded expectations for the Hokies this season. Savoy is averaging over 12 yards per reception with his speed and agility causing plenty of problems. Savoy has been one of the best freshman receivers in America and will continue to be a playmaker for years to come.

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