Virginia Tech DT Jaden Cunningham Takes Medical Hardship, Steps Away From Football

Virginia Tech DT Jaden Cunningham Takes Medical Hardship, Steps Away From Football
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Jul 22, 2021

After suffering an Achilles injury that caused him to miss last season, Virginia Tech DT Jaden Cunningham will not be making a return to the field for the Hokies.

Head coach Justin Fuente told reporters yesterday at ACC Kickoff that Cunningham has taken a medical hardship waiver, meaning that he is stepping away and retiring from football due to injury. This move allows him to remain on scholarship with that scholarship not counting towards the 85 scholarship limit.

Cunningham arrived in Blacksburg in 2019 with high hopes that he could at least provide depth and more size at the defensive tackle. He played two games that season and had a tackle in the Belk Bowl against Kentucky. However, that would be his last game playing for the Hokies with injuries derailing his career from there.

Cunningham stepping away takes him out of the defensive tackle picture for 2021 with Jordan Williams set to start likely alongside Norell Pollard with Mario Kendricks and Josh Fuga likely to be the backups. Additionally, Max Philpott and freshman Desmond Mamudi may also factor in given Tech's limited DT depth with Philpott having played some last season.

Cunningham's departure also opens up another scholarship for the 2022 class which is quite valuable given the large class Tech seems poised to take and what that will likely require in terms of roster turnover.