Three Hokies to Watch For Virginia Tech Against Wofford

Three Hokies to Watch For Virginia Tech Against Wofford
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Sep 16, 2022

FCS matchups for Virginia Tech have always felt a little different than most games in terms of what fans are looking for: a dominant win without injuries. Of course, this game feels even more different given the earliest kickoff in Lane Stadium history at 11am, an opponent that hasn't scored a point in 2 games this season, and a major rivalry game in Blacksburg against West Virginia only 5 days later.

So with that, we're changing things up some and taking a look at my 3 Hokies to watch this week with a focus on youth and guys who could use this game as a chance to build some confidence and rhythm.

RB Bryce Duke

There's been plenty of intrigue surrounding Bryce Duke but so far, we've only gotten to see him as the secondary kick returner against Old Dominion and Boston College, which I wrote about as a waste of burning a redshirt if his redshirt ends up being burned.

With that said, this game presents the Perfect opportunity to finally get Duke some touches at RB.

With Malachi Thomas out and Keshawn King likely to get limited touches early in the game before being pulled (or at least that's what should happen if all goes well), Duke should get his chance and get plenty of touches. We've see Jalen Holston bring plenty to the table as a power runner and blocker but not much else while Chance Black has had flashes but hasn't exactly set the world on fire at all.

Personally, I'd love to see Duke get at least 10-15 carries both for giving him some valuable game experience to help his development and to see what he can do, and if he might be a better true running option than Holston or Black.

Expect to see Duke get at least a few carries against Wofford regardless but personally, I think should give him the most touches of any RB Saturday assuming all goes to plan.

WR Jadan Blue

Expectations were high for Temple transfer Jadan Blue as many thought he could be the Hokies' lead playmaker at WR.

Instead, his 2022 season hasn't gone as planned with injuries causing him to miss significant time in fall camp and then a slow start to the season where he has had some nice, non-traditional WR plays (like his block that helped Keshawn King on his 65-yard TD last week), but also only has 1 catch for -3 yards. This is the first time in Blue's career that he has gone at least back-to-back games with 1 catch or fewer since 2018 at Temple where he only played in 4 games.

Safe to say, Blue has a lot more in him than what he's been able to produce so far for the Hokies this season making the fact that he isn't a starter seem reasonable in some ways even though he may be VT's most talented WR.

This game presents a great opportunity for Blue to find some rhythm against a struggling Wofford team ahead of a tough stretch of games where the Hokies will need more from their receiving corps than they've gotten so far this season, especially from Blue.

CB DJ Harvey

DJ Harvey has shown plenty of potential during his limited playing time with the Hokies including in last year's Pinstripe Bowl where he was one of the few bright spots. So far, Tech's #4 cornerback hasn't played much outside of punt returns where he's had an up and down start as he gets comfortable taking live game punts.

However, this is the perfect chance to get Harvey lots of playing time for the sake of strengthening Tech's depth which has been a question throughout the offseason for this team. Harvey definitely has the talent, but could use more game experience to ensure he's ready if injuries pop up especially with what we've seen with injury issues at RB and WR.

He also might be the #1 cornerback as soon as next year with Dorian Strong being a big year away from potentially declaring for the NFL Draft, Brion Murray being in his final season, and Armani Chatman having only a free COVID year that he could choose to not use. With that in mind, Tech would be wise to use games like this to get Harvey as much game experience as possible for the future in addition to strengthening their depth in the short term.

I'd also love to see Harvey get some early game work with the first team defense though it remains to be seen if that will happen or not.