Virginia Tech had their ups and downs at kicker this past season with a combination of Will Ross and John Love going 9-12 on field goals led by Ross who was 8-10 on the season including 5-6 from 40-49 yards.
While there's definitely plenty of potential between Ross and Love along with kickoff specialist Kyle Lowe, the Hokies are also looking at adding some more competition to that room.
VMI kicker and former FCS All-American Jerry Rice told us that he has been receiving interest from the Hokies plus Utah, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, East Carolina, and Coastal Carolina.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Rice has this type of interest given that he was 39-47 on field goal attempts over the past three seasons at VMI with a career long of 49 yards. He was a Hero Sports All-American and a First Team All-SoCon recipient in 2021 and though he had a slightly down 2022 going 11-15 on field goals, there's no doubt that he's proven himself to be a talented kicker. He also has two years of eligibility remaining after redshirting in 2019 and having the free COVID year for the spring 2021 season at the FCS level.
As you would expect, special teams coordinator Stu Holt is leading the Hokies' interest in him currently with Rice having this to say about his conversations with Holt so far.
"They've been good. I just started talking with him (recently). I’ve known him since he was at App State," Rice said.
Having that connection between Holt and Rice certainly helps the Hokies here in regards to the comfort that Rice seems to have with Holt.
One big thing that could help the Hokies in their pursuit of him is the fact that he is a Southwest Virginia native from Lord Botetourt HS which has produced three current scholarship Hokies in starting guard Jesse Hanson plus DT Gunner Givens and OL Hunter Mclain who both redshirted this past season. Having that type of familiarity and relationships especially given the presence of Hanson who both graduated high school together is a solid in that the Hokies have.
Of course, it remains to be seen how heavily Tech does end up pursuing Rice and whether that is on scholarship or as a preferred walk-on. For now, keep an eye on Rice as the Hokies consider adding some more competition at kicker.