Ahead of this week's ACC Kickoff media event, Virginia Tech football updated their 2019 football roster with Houshun Gaines being the most notable player not included on the roster.
Andy Bitter of The Athletic reported that this was done to take some pressure off Gaines as he works things out in the aftermath of his mother's passing last fall.
Mike Niziolek of the Roanoke Times is also reporting that Virginia Tech is not expecting Gaines to play this fall as he figures things out off the field.
Gaines was set to be a redshirt senior this fall though it seems very likely that he would be able to receive a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA.
In 9 games before suffering a torn ACL last season, Gaines had 22 tackles, 5 total tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 6 QB hurries, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries as he clearly and quickly emerged as VT's best DE after the dismissal of Trevon Hill. Overall, Gaines has 12.5 tackles for loss and 8 sacks in three seasons at Virginia Tech, making 11 starts during the past 2 seasons (2 in 2017, 9 in 2018).
With Gaines expected not to play this fall, Tyjuan Garbutt and Emmanuel Belmar appear to be the frontrunners to start at DE with Nathan Proctor, Zion Debose, and Amare Barno among the potential challengers.
Elsewhere, Xavier Burke and Jimmie Taylor both were also not on the latest Hokies' roster. According to Mike Niziolek of the Roanoke Times, Burke is planning on taking advantage of the grad transfer rule while Taylor is taking a medical retirement.
Burke had 7 tackles including 0.5 tackles for loss in 6 games last season while Taylor made 3 tackles in 5 games during the 2018 season.
Burke started his career at tight end before moving to defensive tackle but was never able to climb higher than fourth or fifth in the DT rotation. Taylor started at DE but was never able to gain much traction at either DE or DT. Neither of these decisions given the rash of JUCO and high school additions at defensive tackles that have buried Burke and Taylor on the depth chart in addition to injury issues that both Burke and Taylor have dealt with.
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
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