Virginia Tech has post-practice availability with defensive coaches today and offensive coaches tomorrow, so we’ll probably get a better idea of which freshmen might have a chance of making the dress squad then.
But why wait when you can speculate? The Twitter account of Frank Beamer‘s website posted Sunday that after the coaches had their meeting Sunday that as many as 12 true freshmen still have an opportunity to make the dress squad.
Which 12? Let’s take some educated guesses about who might be on the list:
- RB J.C. Coleman: He’s ahead of his freshmen brethren on account of enrolling in January. And he showed a big-play capability in the scrimmage with a 52-yard run. Right now he’s the third-string running back, but he could definitely move up or, short of that, be used situationally. (UPDATE: now he’s co-No. 2.)
- WR Joshua Stanford: Keep in mind that just making the dress squad doesn’t mean you’ll play. Tech has several seniors at the top of the list, and Demitri Knowles figures to have a role (Kevin Asante had an active scrimmage as well). But Stanford has impressed coaches with his maturity. And wide receiver is a spot where players can rotate in seamlessly in certain spots.
- CB Donaldven Manning: Another early enrollee, he’s been slowed a bit by a hamstring problem this August. Still, of the many true freshmen in the secondary, he’s the most experienced. Someone will have to be a backup cornerback. He figures to be at the top the list.
- CB Donovan Riley: He’s currently a backup cornerback on the depth chart, along with Manning. He had a rough scrimmage, getting beaten for touchdowns a couple of times, but defensive coordinator Bud Foster has been pleased with his progress this August. Again, someone will have to be there in case Kyle Fuller or Antone Exum gets hurt.
- P Hunter Windmuller: There’s been no update to the depth chart since the scrimmage, when Windmuller had three punts for a 24.7-yard average, so he’s still listed as the No. 1 punter (UPDATE: now he’s No. 2 to the next guy on this list). Beamer has said repeatedly that he’s impressed with the freshman, and given the Hokies’ lagging punting situation, the more options the better.
- P A.J. Hughes: Option 2 at punter, he actually had the better scrimmage, with three kicks for a 53.7-yard average. If the lefty continues to punt like that, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him jump up to the No. 1 spot. Either way, expect both Hughes and Windmuller to dress.
Call them maybe
- RB Trey Edmunds: He looked solid in the scrimmage, running decisively (although that was against the third-team defense). The problem is Tech has Michael Holmes, Martin Scales, Coleman and Tony Gregory in front of him. That’s a lot of players to leap just to get a few carries. Still, one injury could change a lot.
- WR Joel Caleb: There’s no denying his physical skills. He’s 6-2, 211 pounds, so that’s a good frame to start with. But he’s still adjusting to playing wide receiver after finishing his high school career at quarterback. He might need some more time to develop before he can get on the field.
- WR Charley Meyer: He’s a walk-on, but the Richmond product caught the coaches’ eyes in the youngster scrimmage last week, catching three passes, including a touchdown. He had a quiet day Saturday, but he’s at least on Beamer’s radar.
- LB Deon Clarke: Normally he wouldn’t be on this list, but with Tariq Edwards‘ recovery from offseason leg surgery coming along slowly, Tech isn’t as deep at linebacker as you’d think. Clarke made some plays in the youngster scrimmage and could be an emergency guy at one of the inside spots.
- FS Desmond Frye: Another defensive back, Frye is currently listed as the No. 3 free safety behind Detrick Bonner and Boye Aromire. Aromire has had some hamstring issues this August and, despite getting on the field a little last year, isn’t exactly a seasoned veteran at the position. That’s far from a hold on the position.
- CB Davion Tookes: He too has been slowed by a hamstring injury this August, but before that he was it the mix with Manning and Riley for one of the backup corner spots. He was in a green, no-contact jersey for the scrimmage, sitting out when the action got underway, but if he gets back healthy, there isn’t a wealth of experience keeping him from one of the No. 2 spots.
- PK Brooks Abbott: It would seem odd for Tech to bring back Cody Journell and not start him, but Beamer said Abbott could be in the mix as a kickoff guy (it also seems odd to burn a guy’s redshirt year for kickoff duties). Either way, it’s probably not the worst idea to have a spare kicker dressed out in case of injury.
- LS Eddie D’Antuono: Joe St. Germain is the starter, but it’s such a specialty position that the backup might dress out in case of emergency. I’m not sure if Andrew Miller or any of the backup centers ever do long snapping during drills.
- OL Augie Conte: Let’s be clear: I don’t think he’ll play. But tackle depth isn’t the greatest, especially after Nick Acree tore his ACL and will miss the season. Michael Via can play both tackle spots, so that helps in an injury situation, but Conte is listed as the third-string left tackle right now. That might be high enough to dress out.
- DL Alston Smith: Luther Maddy and Antoine Hopkins are vying for the starting tackle job, and whoever doesn’t get it figures to be a backup. But Smith is listed behind them on the depth chart. The Hokies have plenty of options for inside guys. Kris Harley is making his case, and Zack McCray and Corey Marshall can play inside on occasion. Then again, no one expected last year’s tackles to play a lot until injuries popped up.