What an offseason it’s been for Justin Fuente and the Hokies' football team. Many people knew Virginia Tech’s defense would be full of newcomers- by January, six of their starters from last season were gone either due to graduation or the NFL draft. Then disaster struck: Adonis Alexander and Mook Reynolds, two key players in the back 7, were kicked off the team later in the offseason.
To add insult to injury, one of Virginia Tech’s three returning starters on defense may not be ready to go in week one. DT Vinny Mihota, who finished last season with 24 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss, suffered an ACL tear last November vs. Pittsburgh. Bud Foster recently shared that Mihota may not be 100 percent healthy come Monday vs. Florida State.
“Where is he with his recovery? I’m not sure if he is 100 percent yet. He’s out there doing things and he’s got tendonitis in the knee, which kind of aggravates that and is working on getting some strength back in that knee," defensive coordinator Bud Foster said. "But he’s a guy that is working his tail off and we’re controlling the number of reps he is getting, which is similar to what we do when other guys have injuries, too. We are counting on him to just continue to improve and develop and hopefully be ready for some duty for us in this first game and continue to get better and better each and every week.”
This likely means that Foster will have to look for other options at the defensive line spot. One of the key backups will likely be Jarrod Hewitt, a sophomore from Venice, Fla.
Back in the Sunshine State, Hewitt was a competitive powerlifter. He arrived on campus at 6-1, 285 lbs, very strong for his size. He will likely have to go up against Seminole guard Cole Minshew, who is 6-5, 332 pounds.
Virginia Tech has plenty of young talent at the defensive line spot, including Houshun Gaines, Rob Porcher IV and Xavier Burke. They will have to be ready to step up quickly if they are going to stop Cam Akers and Florida State’s often explosive offense.