Corey Marshall is still a Hokie, but he’s taking some time away from the team.
Rumors swirled Sunday that the junior defensive lineman had left the program. After he met with head coach Frank Beamer on Monday, Virginia Tech offered some clarification on the matter.
“Corey is planning on taking some time away from the team to take care of some personal matters,” associate AD for football operations John Ballein wrote in an email. “His status with the team will be determined at a later date.”
That is the only statement the Hokies will have on the matter.
The 6-foot-1, 257-pound junior from North Dinwiddie has played 27 games in his Hokies career at both tackle and end, starting five times and making 39 tackles, six tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks.
Although he wasn’t going to start this year, Marshall was expected to have a key role on Tech’s defensive line. Coaches couldn’t have been more complimentary earlier this August about how he selflessly moved from end, a position with great depth, to tackle, a position in need of players, to help the team out.
“It was kind of a mutual decision,” Marshall said during the first week of camp. “They had some concerns about the inside depth, and I understood that. … I was ready to take that step.”
“Corey moving inside I think really solidified our defense,” line coach Charley Wiles said last week. “It was a very selfless, team approach. … I think he’s enjoying the competition. So it was the best thing for our football team.”
Tech has always planned to start senior Derrick Hopkins and junior Luther Maddy at its two defensive tackle spots. Marshall, though undersized at 257 pounds, was poised to be the third option.
His absence leaves four players competing for backup roles, three of which are freshmen. Woody Baron, a true freshman, was previously listed as the other backup, although he’s been competing with sophomore Kris Harley and redshirt freshmen Alston Smith and Nigel Williams for reps.
Of that group, only Harley has gotten on the field in an actual college game before. He has six tackles and an interception in 10 games, showing flashes but struggling with his consistency.