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Keylen Adams, Chanz Wiggins Adapting to New Environment at Virginia Tech

Keylen Adams ESD Card 2023
Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics

It hasn't been often that Virginia Tech has landed the top two wide receivers from Virginia in the same recruiting class, but that's what the Hokies did this cycle landing four-star WRs Keylen Adams and Chanz Wiggins.

Both shined during their time in high school with Adams breaking the VHSL records for receiving yards (4,226) and receiving touchdowns (63) while ranking second in Virginia history in receptions (203) during his time as a star for 757 powerhouse Green Run HS. Meanwhile, Wiggins was a dynamic playmaker throughout his high school career with 11 receiving touchdowns as senior while also making some big plays and impressing scouts during the most recent Under Armour All-America Game.

They also both had some other big powers trying to flip them down the stretch of the 2024 recruiting cycle with Tech having to stave off Michigan for Wiggins while staving off Ohio State, Penn State, and more for Adams.

Now, Adams and Wiggins are among the overwhelming majority of Tech's 2024 high school class who are already on campus in Blacksburg. The transition is a significant one and while Adams and Wiggins are simply trying to keep their head above water as they adapt, WRs coach Fontel Mines has been impressed with their maturity and the varying skill sets they bring to the table.

"They’re swimming right now trying to keep their head above water, but very mature, both of them. They don’t say a ton. They just come to work. They’re fitting in great with the room. And they’re both a little bit different just as far as size and stature, and speed and attributes and all those things that makes those guys special," Mines said.

Mines is also glad to have both of these guys making this adjustment to college football now rather than in the summer, allowing them to go through the ups and downs that inevitably happen with a transition like this.

"I think the best thing for those two is getting here early, getting engaged with the room, learning the offense. They’re going to go through some bumps, and they’re going to get disappointed, they’re going to lose their confidence. All that stuff’s going to happen and I’d rather it happen now then happen in the summer time," Mines said.

Now some may wonder if Tech would feel that it's a gift that they don't need Adams and Wiggins to make a big impact in 2024 given what they have back, but can give them plenty of space to earn that playing time should they do well enough. However, Fontel Mines is looking to create and keep that pressure on his guys, including Adams and Wiggins, knowing that you're always one or two injuries from needing your backups or even third-stringers to step up.

"You know crazy enough, I try to keep the pressure on just because you’re always one play away. You just never know what’s going to happen. You never know who you’re going to need to lean on. You never know who’s going have to play 60 plays a game whether they’re a freshman, whether they’re a walk-on, whether they’re a senior. My mindset is to get all those guys ready to play," Mines said.

While Adams entered the WR room completely green on what it's like to play college football, Wiggins got a taste of it when he got to practice with the Hokies during their Military Bowl practices in the Washington D.C. area thanks to a rarely-used NCAA rule. Mines feels that experience has helped Wiggins greatly in his transition to Virginia Tech, especially with his confidence being part of Tech's loaded WR room.

“I think it really helped him in his confidence in the room. That’s usually sometimes the biggest adjustment being in that setting with those guys from high school to college, and then from college to the NFL is being one of the guys. And I think that kind of alleviated that part of it and just allowed him to sit down and learn and be one of the guys," Mines said.

There's plenty of reason to be excited about the potential of Keylen Adams and Chanz Wiggins who are benefitting greatly from being on campus early, even if they're just trying to keep their heads above water right now as they adapt to being part of a major college football program.

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