The Virginia Tech Hokies released their first depth chart of the fall followed by their first game week press conference today ahead of the Hokies' season opener on Saturday against the Liberty Flames. Today's depth chart release and comments from Bud Foster revealed three true freshmen that not only seem likely to play but have earned playing time in fairly big ways.
WR Divine Deablo
WR Divine Deablo arrived in the spring and by the Spring Game, he was consistently receive first team reps with both Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips out due to injuries. Deablo has continued to build on that progress he made this spring and has made the two-deep depth chart as a top backup WR listed on the outside behind Bucky Hodges.
Deablo has great size at 6'3'' 205 pounds that Isaiah Ford has said he wishes he had as a freshman. Deablo showed this spring that while he still has some developing to do as a route runner, he can definitely be a threat as a very athletic receiver that has the size and athleticism to go and get jump balls along with being unafraid of contact and contested passes over the middle of the field.
Deablo should see the field a good amount this fall as Justin Fuente and Brad Cornelsen prefer to have 6 to 8 wide receivers with Deablo clearly in that group for this fall. With the very real possibility that both Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges could be gone after this season, Deablo may also be a starter for the Hokies in 2017 and has shown that he is the future at the WR spot after Ford, Hodges, and Cam Phillips.
CB Tyree Rodgers
Tyree Rodgers was a surprise inclusion to many fans and analysts including ourselves in today's two-deep depth chart but even with Adonis Alexander's return next week, Rodgers seems very likely to stay in the two-deep with walk-on Curtis Williams, another surprise inclusion, very likely to drop off the chart.
Rodgers was a late offer that flipped his commitment on National Signing Day from Old Dominion to Virginia Tech and hasn't looked back since with a very strong fall camp to put himself in a position to get playing time in Bud Foster's defense as a true freshman.
Rodgers has great length at 6'1'' and has impressed Bud Foster in practice with Foster extending some praise on Rodgers's praise while expecting him to continue to develop into a more reliable throughout the fall.
Rodgers has been one of the biggest surprises of fall camp and clearly is looking like one of the first true recruiting steals for the Hokies under Justin Fuente.
LB Tavante Beckett
Tavante Beckett has been one to receive a lot of praise throughout fall camp and while he missed out on the two-deep, Bud Foster sees Beckett as someone who will play and on more than just special teams.
Tavante Beckett may have below-average size for a linebacker at a listed height of 5'10'' but Beckett has the toughness that Bud Foster expects in his defensive players, earning him a spot on special teams and potentially helping him gain some time on defense this fall.
Beckett is known as a high-energy, hard-working player that you knew would likely maximize his potential no matter what whether he actually had the talent, given his size, to play at this level or not. Beckett is also not afraid to lay the boom down while also showing some decent tackling form while in high school.
Tavante Beckett is not afraid of contact and that makes him exactly the type of player that Justin Fuente wants on special teams and someone that can get some snaps as a true freshman in Bud Foster's defense.