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Top 25 Transfer Portal Era Transfers at Virginia Tech: Keve Aluma & Khalil Herbert

Keve Aluma 1 2022 ACC Tourney Title Game

It's been two weeks since we started our countdown of the top 25 transfer portal era additions at Virginia Tech and we've reached our top 2. These 2 players were true stars for the Hokies who defined the teams they were on and reached great personal success while one helped lead Tech to greater heights than seen before in his sport.

So with that said, here is our top 2 transfer portal era transfers at Virginia Tech along with the rest of our transfer portal era countdowns and rankings.

2. Khalil Herbert

Many knew that this Kansas transfer had potential given his impressive yards per carry and the big games he did have for the Jayhawks behind their First Team All-Big 12 RB. But many discounted what he could be given that he was coming from a Kansas program that has been arguably the worst Power 5 program over the past decade.

Khalil Herbert quickly made those who didn't have him as an easy All-ACC talent for the Hokies look like fools which was just about everyone.

He became the first RB since 2015 to break 1,000 rushing yards in a single season doing so in really, only 10 games since he was hurt on the opening kickoff against Liberty. Herbert finished the season with an absurd 1,183 rushing yards on only 155 carries averaging 7.6 yards per carry while rushing for 8 touchdowns along with adding 10 catches for 179 yards and a touchdown. He also returned 16 kicks for an average of 26.9 yards per return proving to be a dual-threat on offense and special teams.

His start to the season was one of the most spectacular parts as during his first 6 games for the Hokies, he had at least 100 rushing yards and averaged at least 7 yards per carry in five of them. Of the 10 games he was fully healthy for, he had 100+ yards of offense in eight with the only two being when he had 21 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown against Clemson and 8 carries for 49 yards against Miami right after his injury against Liberty.

He didn't have a single game where he averaged below 4.5 yards per carry while averaging 7+ yards per carry in 7 of 10 games. His 155 carries were also the fewest for a Tech RB to reach 1,000 yards with his 7.68 yards per carry setting the new school record for the most yards per carry on 100+ carries.

Unsurprisingly, Herbert earned All-ACC honors though his midseason injury issues likely cost him First Team honors in a loaded year where his talent deserved it. Regardless, he still received All-ACC Second Team honors as an all-purpose player and Third Team honors as a RB.

Having been fortunate to cover multiple Virginia Tech games in person during the pandemic-riddled 2020 season in a mostly empty Lane Stadium, Herbert was one of the best talents that I've personally gotten to see live over the past several years and by far the best running back Tech has had since David Wilson if not longer. From the moment of his first carry to his last, you knew that Virginia Tech had something special with Khalil Herbert.

He may have never gotten to play in front of a sold out Lane Stadium but in a year without the excitement that fans bring to college football, Herbert brought some extra electricity and excitement that Tech hadn't seen in an offensive player since David Wilson at least.

1. Keve Aluma

Coming in at #1 is the man who was the first major star of the Mike Young era, Wofford transfer Keve Aluma.

Aluma followed Mike Young from Spartanburg to Blacksburg, but the Wofford transfer big man had been simply a solid starter for the Terriers and nothing spectacular. Aluma had to sit out his first season and redshirt creating a great development opportunity, but no one outside of Aluma and Young likely imagined what Aluma was about to become for the Hokies.

Aluma immediately became one of the ACC's best big men helping launch year 2 of the Mike Young era to Virginia Tech's fourth-straight contested NCAA Tournament appearance. He did so while earning All-ACC Second Team honors in the process averaging 15.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.3 blocks in 30.6 minutes per game shooting 49% from the field including 35.1% from three-point range plus 72.2% from the free-throw line.

He built on that in the 2021-22 season becoming a more efficient offensive player while leading the Hokies out from a slow start to a tremendous finish to the season before making history on Tech's way to their first ACC Tournament title. This was only Tech's second conference tournament title in program history with the first coming in the Metro in 1979.

Aluma once again earned All-ACC Second Team honors as he averaged 15.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 30.8 minutes per game while shooting 53.8% from the field including 33.3% from three-point range plus 78.5% from the free-throw line.

Similar to Zach LeDay who toped our recent pre-transfer portal era top 5, Aluma hadn't shown star potential yet though unlike LeDay, he had been a solid starter at least. However, a redshirt year to give him more time to develop with Mike Young proved to be all he needed to become an ACC star who helped the Hokies reach new heights in a golden basketball era.

He'll have his spot in the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in the minimum 10 year wait after the end of his collegiate career and rightly so after an impressive 2 years wearing the maroon and orange that has made him Tech's greatest transfer portal era transfer to date.

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