August isn’t halfway over yet, but Virginia Tech has had enough injuries to last a season.
The Hokies found out Thursday night that outside linebacker Ronny Vandyke will need right shoulder surgery that will keep him out the entire season and running back Tony Gregory re-tore his ACL, likely ending his college career.
Tech also said offensive tackle Mark Shuman tore the lateral meniscus in his right knee and will require surgery that will keep him out 4-6 weeks.
Running back J.C. Coleman, meanwhile, has a high left ankle sprain and a regular right ankle sprain that the Hokies hope won’t put his season opener in doubt.
It’s not the news Virginia Tech wanted to hear a little over two weeks before it plays No. 1 Alabama on Aug. 31 in the Georgia Dome.
Vandyke’s injury is the biggest blow. The sophomore was expected to step into a playmaking role at whip linebacker this year, but he dislocated his right shoulder in Saturday’s practice.
He suffered the same injury to his left shoulder three times at South County High School in Lorton and eventually had surgery, missing his junior year, but he was hopeful this injury wouldn’t require it. Tech puts his rehab at 6-8 months, making him probable for the spring.
Walk-ons Josh Trimble and Derek DiNardo are next on the depth chart.
Gregory, a senior who Tech wanted to use as a scatback, re-tore his left ACL. He had torn it twice already in college.
“He will evaluate his options over the next couple of days, but his career at Virginia Tech is effectively over,” head athletic trainer Mike Goforth said.
The First Colonial High product from Virginia Beach played 34 games in his injury-saddled career, running for 428 yards and a touchdown.
Shuman, a junior who worked with the first team at both tackle spots and left guard this camp, will undergo surgery early next week. It’s the same knee that he’s had scoped previously.
“He’s actually torn the meniscus before in a different location,” Gofoth said.
Redshirt freshman offensive tackle Augie Conte also suffered an ankle sprain, but he’s expected back soon.
Nevertheless, Tech’s tackle situation is getting dire. The top two tackles on the depth chart are Laurence Gibson and Jonathan McLaughlin. Their backups are Parker Osterloh and recently-converted defensive lineman Wyatt Teller. Of that group, McLaughlin, Osterloh and Teller are true freshmen.
Coleman had both of his ankles rolled up on in a middle drill Wednesday. The sophomore, who led the Hokies’ tailbacks with 492 rushing yards last year, had his left foot in a walking boot Thursday evening.
“We’re hoping to get him back in less than two weeks, but that’s very optimistic,” Goforth said. “We think he’ll be ready and back in time for the Alabama game. He’s working hard to get back as soon as he can.”
If Coleman can’t return in time, the Hokies won’t have many running backs for Alabama. Trey Edmunds is listed as a co-starter with Coleman, but second-teamer Joel Caleb will serve a one-game suspension for an undisclosed violation of teams rules. Gregory, the third-teamer, is out for the year.
Walk-ons Daniel Dyer and Maurice Taylor are next on the depth chart, although redshirt freshman Chris Mangus, who recently moved to receiver, could move back. (UPDATE: Mangus and fullback Jerome Wright took snaps at tailback Thursday night.)
A couple of other Hokies are on the mend. Linebacker Deon Clarke broke a bone in his hand but is playing with a wrap on it. Receivers Charley Meyer and David Prince are listed as injured, although the nature wasn’t disclosed. Meyer has had hamstring issues.
Defensive end Tyrel Wilson‘s foot was in a walking boot after a recent procedure, keeping him out of practice for a few days. Center David Wang rolled an ankle Tuesday and has been limited since.