Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente announced today that star tight end and captain James Mitchell is out for the season due to a knee injury suffered against Middle Tennessee.
Justin Fuente announces that #Hokies star TE James Mitchell will have surgery on a season-ending knee injury— Tim Thomas (@TimThomasTLP) September 13, 2021
Mitchell entered the 2021 season as one of the best tight ends in the country who earned Preseason All-ACC honors as well. He had 3 catches for 36 yards and a touchdown in the opener against North Carolina, followed by a reception and a 1-yard carry against MTSU before suffering his season-ending knee injury.
Mitchell would certainly be eligible to receive a medical redshirt which would preserve his two remaining years of eligibility.
The Hokies will turn to a combination of Nick Gallo and Drake DeIuliis at tight end with Gallo likely to take over as the starting tight end as the better blocker who can also fill the h-back role well. However, expect DeIuliis to receive plenty of playing time especially on passing downs given his ability to be flexed outside.
We've seen Tech use Gallo plenty previously to allow Mitchell to flex outside which shows a lot about the confidence they have him as a "traditional" tight end who is a strong blocker and checkdown/dump-off receiver. DeIuliis had also been used some as a receiving tight end anyway though this may cause him to be used more in two tight end formations in a traditional TE spot rather than flexed out.
We will have more as this story develops.