Our countdown of the top 25 transfer portal era transfers at Virginia Tech gets closer and closer to the top spot as we break into the top 5 today taking a look at 7-5 on the list. Check out who is in the top 7 along with the rest of our top 25 breakdowns and more as well.
- Top 5 Recent Pre Transfer Portal Era Transfers
- 25-21 Transfer Portal Era Transfers
- 20-16 Transfer Portal Era Transfers
- 15-11 Transfer Portal Era Transfers
- 10-8 Transfer Portal Era Transfers
7. Raheem Blackshear
Virginia Tech never fully maximized the versatile skillset that Raheem Blackshear offered after his transfer to the Hokies from Rutgers especially his pass-catching, but Blackshear's talent still won out in the end.
She put up almost 400 yards of offense on just 84 rushing attempts and catches during his first season in Blacksburg in 2020 behind standout RB Khalil Herbert.
Then, Blackshear hit his stride in 2021 with over 1,000 yards of total offense including 757 rushing yards with 6 touchdowns. Tech also started to use Blackshear more in the passing game as they should have with 25 catches for 249 yards, an almost 10 yards per catch average that's a big plus for a RB. He also filled in on special teams at times returning 6 kicks for an average over 28 yards.
His strong season was especially recognized by the analytics with Pro Football Focus awarding Blackshear with All-ACC Third Team honors. He also did much of this while being in a RB tandem with talented freshman Malachi Thomas with Blackshear making the most of his opportunities especially as the season progressed.
There's no doubt that Raheem Blackshear falls in a category of what if he was more properly used from day 1 yet Blackshear was too talented not to be a big difference maker for VT football.
6. Taja Cole
Taja Cole was one of Kenny Brooks' first big transfer additions out of transfer portal along with Radford's Lydia Rivers. The duo joined forces with Taylor Emery and company for the 2019-20 season in a year that proved to be the breakthrough before the official breakthrough.
Cole wasn't a high-scoring point guard coming from Georgia, but she was the dynamic floor general to run the show that VT Women's Basketball needed to take multiple steps forward from WNIT regular to NCAA Tournament team that could win games in March on the biggest stage. She averaged 9.6 points, 6.1 assists, 5.4 rebounds, and over 1 steal in over 33 minutes per game for the Hokies proving to be a valuable, versatile starter for Tech's best women's basketball team in over a decade at that time.
Cole's strong season earned her All-ACC Defensive Team and All-ACC Honorable Mention honors while also setting a school record for most assists during ACC play. This came on a Tech team that went 21-9 finishing tied for 4th in the ACC while also being poised to reach their first NCAA Women's Tournament since 2006.
Though Tech had to wait another year to formally end the drought due to COVID, it was players like Cole who helped the Hokies break through and jump from WNIT to NCAA Tournament regular, and who deserve more recognition.
5. Kelsey Brown
Kelsey Brown arrived from JMU after one year in Harrisonburg and immediately became a starting outfielder for the Hokies. Since then, Brown has been a reliable player for the Hokies who has been a three-year starter and likely will become a fourth while helping Virginia Tech reach back-to-back Super Regionals.
She played in all 25 games starting 24 in the COVID-shortened 2020 season with an impressive .378 batting average to go with 1 home run and 7 RBIs while also being dynamic on the basepaths with 18 stolen bases in 20 attempts.
Brown built on that in 2021 playing in all 52 games while starting 50. 2021 was her best year to date leading Tech in batting average (.384), on-base percentage (.406), triples (5), and stolen bases (31) while also driving home 20 runs. Her strong season helped her earn All-ACC Second Team honors as a key player for a team that reached Super Regionals for the first time under Pete D'Amour.
That set the stage for 2022 where the Hokies reached new heights as a team and though she wasn't as productive as 2021, she still played well overall with a .289 batting average, .317 on-base percentage, 12 RBIs, and 13 stolen bases in 16 attempts.
When you get a player out of the transfer portal, you can only dream of landing a quality multi-year starter like Pete D'Amour found in Kelsey Brown who has helped the Hokies rebuild a new, national softball power.