Virginia Tech Hokies Football Team 2019 Preview: Odds and Predictions

2018 Season in Review

The Hokies took a step back in Justin Fuente’s third season at the helm, needing two wins at the end of the season to become bowl eligible at 6-6. Virginia Tech was on the wrong end of one of the season’s biggest upsets, where they lost 49-35 to Old Dominion. With the 61st ranked offense and 85th ranked defense, the Hokies had to fight for every win.

The low point of the season came during a four game losing streak, which included blowout losses to Coastal Division foes Pittsburgh (52-22), Georgia Tech (49-28), and Miami (38-14). The Hokies capped off 2018 with a close 35-31 loss to Cincinnati in the Northrop Grumman Military Bowl.

Key Returning Players (2018 Stats)

  • QB Ryan Willis (Redshirt Senior) – 2,716 Pass Yards | 24 Pass TD | 354 Rush Yards
  • WR Damon Hazelton Jr. (Redshirt Junior) – 51 Receptions | 802 Rec Yards | 8 Rec TD
  • MLB Rayshard Ashby (Junior) – 105 Total Tackles | 9.5 TFL | 2 Forced Fumbles
  • CB Caleb Farley (Redshirt Sophomore) – 36 Total Tackles | 2 INT | 7 Pass Def

Offensive coordinator Brad Cornelson will put 2018 behind him and work with presumptive starting quarterback, Ryan Willis, on cutting down on turnovers. Willis will have his top throwing target back in Damon Hazelton Jr., while sophomore receiver Tre Turner is expected to step up after a solid freshman season. Running back Deshawn McClease is slated to get most of the carries behind a young offensive line, where redshirt junior center Zachariah Hoyt is veteran of the group.

The Hokies will hope for more of a pass rush from their defensive line, which includes redshirt senior Houshun Gaines who led the team with just 4.5 sacks. Top tackler Rayshard Ashby will once again be entrenched at middle linebacker, where he should be joined by outside backers Dax Hollifield and TyJuan Garbutt. Senior safety Reggie Floyd leads a secondary that will aim to nab more than the seven interceptions they had in 2018.

Key Departures

  • OT Yosh Nijman (Graduation)
  • DT Ricky Walker (Graduation)
  • RB Steven Peoples (Graduation)
  • QB Josh Jackson (Transferred to Maryland)

During the Frank Beamer era, the Hokies were churning out NFL talent on par with other power programs. The well dried up for a year, however, as no Virginia Tech players were chosen in the 2019 NFL Draft. Nonetheless, there will be some key missing personnel in Blacksburg, particularly on the offensive line with the graduation of tackle Yosh Nijman and guard Kyle Chung.

The offense also lost key playmakers in leading rusher Steven Peoples and number two receiver Eric Kumah, with the latter transferring to Old Dominion for his senior season. Lastly, their depth at quarterback took a hit when Josh Jackson elected to transfer to Maryland after losing the starting nod to Willis in 2018.

Notable Recruits (Star Ratings and Rankings According to Rivals.com)

  • OG Doug Nester – 4 Star | 6-6, 312lb | Spring Valley HS | Huntington, WV
  • RB Keshawn King – 4 Star | 6-1, 185lb | Oakleaf HS | Orange Park, FL
  • Jaden Payoute – 4 Star | 6-3, 195lb | Lloyd C. Bird HS | North Chesterfield, VA
  • CB Nyquee Hawkins – 4 Star | 6-0, 180lb | Orange HS | Orange, NJ

Headlining the 2019 recruiting class for Virginia Tech is Doug Nester, the eighth ranked guard prospect and second ranked recruit in West Virginia. Joining Nester is a pair of athlete signings in J.R. Walker and Tayvion Robinson, who are currently slotted at safety and receiver, respectively. In addition to Robinson, the receiving corps added a pair of six-foot-three targets in Jaden Payoute and Jacoby Pinckney.

2019 Schedule

DateOpponent
August 31st@ Boston College
September 7thOld Dominion
September 14thFurman
September 27thDuke
October 5th@ Miami
October 12thRhode Island
October 19thNorth Carolina
November 2nd@ Notre Dame
November 9thWake Forest
November 16th@ Georgia Tech
November 23rdPittsburgh
November 29th@ Virginia

Coach Fuente’s squad goes into 2019 with a fairly lenient schedule, as they avoid Clemson as well as Syracuse and Florida State. On the other hand, they have to pay a visit to Notre Dame which is always a tough environment. Their season finale against arch-rival Virginia could be challenging, with the Cavaliers projected by many analysts to win the Coastal Dvision. With that being said, the Hokies have dominated that series, with their last loss coming in 2003.

Where to Bet on Win Totals and Conference Title Odds in New Jersey

New Jersey residents can log on to 888Sport to wager on Virginia Tech’s odds of winning the ACC title, the ACC Coastal Division, as well as their win total.

Number of Games Won – Excluding Bowl Games & Play Offs

Regular season only. Conference championship games do not count.

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