Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
Virginia Tech football announced this morning that defensive back Devon Hunter has been indefinitely suspended for "not upholding the high standards we have for our student-athletes."
Virginia Tech Athletics Statement pic.twitter.com/AuyS7jsY1q— Virginia Tech Football (@HokiesFB) September 14, 2020
Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch added that the reason for Hunter's suspension is not related to any COVID protocol violations.
This is the latest disappointing news in Blacksburg after Virginia Tech's September 19th game against Virginia was postponed and football activities were paused for four days starting this past Friday.
This is definitely a major surprise as Hunter has been routinely praised for his actions and character on and off the field by head coach Justin Fuente and others.
Hunter is currently projected to be the starting rover for Virginia Tech this and was considered by many to be a top defensive breakout candidate. With Hunter out, veteran Tyree Rodgers is likely a top candidate to fill that role. J.R. Walker could also be a major contender as well especially with the rover position evolving some into a more traditional strong safety like position. Divine Deablo sliding over to rover could also be a possibility that would open free safety more for the redshirt freshman Walker.
Tech could also shuffle a couple things around with Chamarri Conner having the versatility to move from nickelback to rover with someone like Brion Murray taking on that role at nickelback as someone who spent some time there when he initially arrived in Blacksburg.
Devon Hunter was charged with "strangling another to cause wound or injury and simple assault against a family member" and is being held at the Montgomery County Jail without bail until his court appearance as reported by Michael Niziolek of the Roanoke Times. Andy Bitter of The Athletic also provided some insight on Hunter's court date and other details on the case.
BREAKING: Virginia Tech safety Devon Hunter arrested on two criminal charges, both assault related https://t.co/DdsdoR77cv— michaelniziolek (@michaelniziolek) September 14, 2020
The felony charge automatically triggers a suspension, per Virginia Tech athletics policy, until it is resolved. Hunter was arraigned in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court this afternoon. His next court hearing is Nov. 19. #Hokies— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) September 14, 2020
On the checklist for bail determination, there is what appears to be Hunter’s explanation of the events. pic.twitter.com/r551w6dVSG— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) September 14, 2020
This explains why Hunter's indefinite suspension went into place as quickly as it did as it is athletic policy for any athlete charged with a felony to immediately be suspended.
Justin Fuente declined further comment on the matter at a pre-scheduled press conference earlier today, but did say "yes" when asked if this was a surprising development to him.
In regards to who may replace Hunter, Fuente told us that veteran Tyree Rodgers, redshirt freshman J.R. Walker, and true freshman Keonta Jenkins are among the top candidates but that things are very open given the unexpected nature of this.