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2023 Virginia Tech Football Redshirt Tracker Post-Purdue

Caleb Woodson 1 VT Purdue 2023 From VT
Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics

Virginia Tech brought in a strong recruiting class this offseason needing at least a few of these recruits to step up and play in depth roles at minimum this season. So far, the 2023 class already has a few players on track to avoid redshirt.

Here's a rundown through two weeks of which true freshmen have played and how many games they have played in.

  • WR Ayden Greene: 2
  • LB Caleb Woodson: 2
  • CB Braylon Johnson: 2
  • S Mose Phillips: 2
  • CB Dante Lovett: 2

It seemed going into the fall that we could see 8-10 freshmen avoid redshirts in 2023 but instead, only 4 have played in Tech's two games with Dante Lovett also getting limited snaps in the opener against Old Dominion.

To state the obvious, the first four are all certain to avoid redshirting as long as they avoid serious injury in the coming games. Ayden Greene seems poised for a growing offensive role with Ali Jennings likely out for an extended time and Jaylin Lane's injury status also unknown.

Caleb Woodson leads all freshmen in terms of non-special teams snaps with 48. He saw an increase in snaps this past week as Tech used their star linebackers more compared to last week when they ran a lot nickel.

Combine that with Keonta Jenkins being banged up and that led to Woodson playing 39 of 81 defensive snaps against Purdue on a day where Tech needed all hands of deck defensively with the Boilermakers having the ball for just over 38 of the 60 minutes. Woodson finished the games with 3 tackles and will likely have a rotational role going forward.

With Nasir Peoples out, Mose Phillips worked as the lead true backup safety in this game though Tech also used Mansoor Delane in stretches. Phillips hasn't set the world on fire but neither has Jaylen Jones so if Phillips can make strides forward as he gains experience, he could be starting soon depending on how long Peoples is out. For now though, Tech being able to use Delane at safety with Canteen at CB may limit his role as we saw in this game with Phillips playing only 8 snaps.

Braylon Johnson continues to work as the fourth cornerback though he only played 9 snaps against Purdue. In games where Tech uses their star linebackers a lot more than their nickel packages, we'll likely see less of Johnson at this point unless Delane's safety reps grow significantly.

Dante Lovett played only on special teams this week after playing briefly late against ODU. He still is on path to avoid redshirt though if Tech feels there's a path to redshirting him, you wonder if they replace him on special teams as they did with TE Harrison Saint Germain last year when Saint Germain was playing exclusively special teams.

Takye Heath hasn't been in the two-deep depth chart the first two weeks of the season, but the freshman from Richmond received plenty of praise during fall camp for what he offers in the slot. He hasn't played yet this season, but you wonder if that could change for him and/or redshirt freshman Xayvion Turner-Bradshaw if Jaylin Lane has to miss games due to injury going forward.

With Tech's offensive line struggling, could true freshman Layth Ghannam earn an opportunity at some point? He hasn't made the two-deep so far this season despite working as the backup left tackle for much of fall camp. We'll see if Tech's struggles and Ghannam continuing to get more time in practice and in a college strength & conditioning program leads to an opening for Ghannam to earn playing time.

There are 2 situations to monitor outside of the freshman class starting with RB Bryce Duke. The sophomore remains RB3 or RB4 but didn't redshirt last year while being used as the secondary kick return man, a role that he is not operating in this season.

He's only played one snap in one game so far this season so a redshirt could be a possibility for Duke in 2023. We'll be keeping an eye on Duke's redshirt possibilities going forward.

The other situation to monitor is transfer OL Clayton Frady. The former Gardner-Webb standout has not played yet this season, but also has a redshirt still to use if he does not play in more than 4 games. He also has 2 years of eligibility remaining so there is some developmental time here as well.

Frady was highly-touted as a potential starter given the state of the OL when the Hokies landed him over multiple Power 5 programs including Duke and Cincinnati. However, a redshirt could be possible if he can't break into the rotation soon especially with Brody Meadows for now working as the sixth offensive lineman coming in for Bob Schick at right guard.

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