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Virginia Tech Will Be Without Nasir Peoples and Jalen Stroman for the Military Bowl

Nasir Peoples 1 Fall Camp 2023 From VT
Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics

Following today's practice, Virginia Tech head coach Brent Pry revealed that the Hokies will be without a pair of defensive starters for their upcoming Military Bowl against 11-2 Tulane.

Pry shared that starting safeties Nasir Peoples and Jalen Stroman will both miss the Military Bowl due to injury. Peoples has been dealing with a couple different injuries throughout the season, with the Hokies' head coach sharing the following update on what Peoples has gone through in 2023.

"Nasir is one of the toughest guys I’ve ever coached. He had a broken thumb. Played the week before UVa, he played that game. And then he played the UVa game with this thing. And then he had ACL surgery. He’s played with the knee thing, he’s played with the hand thing and just kept on gutting it out. It was just time to get him fixed. For his future and what he wants to do. So he obviously won’t play in the bowl game," Pry said.

It's a disappointment in some ways for Peoples to not have one final game to finish out his Virginia Tech career, but that doesn't change what his legacy ought to be in the eyes of defensive coordinator Chris Marve.

"Absolute warrior. He’s like a coach on the field. He doesn’t get fazed. Nothing really makes him frantic. He sees it. The game comes slow to him because he’s seen so much and he’s absolutely a model for leadership, maturity for all of our young players. It means the world to me and to us. He’s been a pleasure to coach. He’ll be one of those guys 20 years from now that we’re all going to be talking about just because of what he brought to the table and his level of consistency," Marve said.

Meanwhile, Jalen Stroman also has an undisclosed injury, but Pry shared that Stroman will still be around the team even if he can't take the field in Annapolis.

"I’m going to be honest, Jalen Stroman also had postseason surgery. He won’t be available for the bowl game. He’ll meet us there on the 22nd and enjoy the trip with us, but he’s not going to be able to play either," Pry said.

So that leaves the Hokies is a tricky spot at safety with Jaylen Jones and Mose Phillips set to slide into starting roles with Derrick Canteen also set to play some at safety as Pry shared.

"You’ve got Derrick Canteen, you’ve got Mose Phillips and Jaylen Jones. And you’ve got a couple other guys that are repping there to provide some depth," Pry said.

Of course, Canteen is heading elsewhere in 2024 after entering the transfer portal earlier this month, but Marve is excited to have Canteen and the versatile value he brings to the secondary for one more game.

"We love DC, man. Really proud of what he’s brought to the program. Having him around is invaluable," Marve said.

There's also the duo of Jones and Phillips who have had their struggles this season, but have also made plenty of progress from Marve's perspective.

"Those guys have grown each week. When it comes to Jaylen Jones, he’s a really elite athlete, in my opinion, who has great movement skills. He has movement skills of a corner but playing safety. So learning that position, the communication that position requires, him understanding the games and concepts and how he’s getting attacked at his position, I’ve seen him grow. Like I was talking about with Nas, it started to slow down for him towards the back end of the year," Marve said.

"When you think about Mose Phillips, here’s a young man who’s extremely physical. He comes from a football family. Father played at Tennessee. And he’s a coach’s son. So he’s somebody who’s been around football his entire life. So playing at a high level, playing in intense situations, having pressure put on him, it’s nothing new for him. But certainly as a freshman you’re going to have your mistakes. He’s learning from those and he’s gotten a lot better."

Tech has dealt with injury issues at safety all season and will once again be without both starters when they take on Tulane in the Military Bowl However, this games gives guys like Mose Phillips and Jaylen Jones a chance to gain more valuable experience and show their growth on the field.

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