Virginia Tech Hokies

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Redshirt freshman Josh Jackson gets starting QB job at Virginia Tech

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One of the first players brought into the Virginia Tech football program under head coach Justin Fuente will now be handed the football as the team’s starting quarterback. Redshirt freshman Josh Jackson has officially been named the starting quarterback for the Hokies in 2017.

Jackson enrolled at Virginia Tech as an early-enrollee in January 2016, shortly after Fuente took over as the head coach of the program after being hired away from Memphis. Fuente’s first season as head coach of the Hokies resulted in an ACC Coastal Division championship and saw a well-respected battle against eventual national champion Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. Fuente’s offensive flair quickly impacted the Virginia Tech football program, and now getting his dual-threat quarterback Jackson into the mix could lead to more success on the football field.

Jackson sat out his freshman season in Blacksburg, meaning he will make his first college start with the Hokies on September 3 when Virginia Tech opens the 2017 season against West Virginia. The Mountaineers will have a new starting quarterback as well, with former Florida quarterback Will Grier expected to lead the Mountaineers.

Bovada continues to tap Alabama as 2017 title favorite

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When last we left Bovada.lv‘s odds for the 2017 national champion, 2016 runners-up Alabama sat atop the initial wagering odds.  On the cusp of a new season?  Same old, same old.  Pretty much.

Along with its updated Heisman Trophy odds, Bovada also revealed its updated odds to win the next edition of the College Football Playoff championship, with the Crimson Tide sitting as a comfortable favorite at 12/5.  In January, those odds were a little longer at 4/1.

The next two teams, USC and Ohio State, saw their odds shorten as well, with the former going from 9/1 to 6/1 and the latter from 15/2 to 13/2.  Florida State and Michigan, at 7/1 and 9/1, respectively, seven months ago, have lengthened a bit to 15/2 for the Seminoles and 16/1 for the Wolverines.

Prior to Bob Stoops’ retirement, Oklahoma had been at 9/1; after his abrupt departure, those odds have tumbled to 16/1.

Below are the complete set of updated 2017 national championship odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv.

Virginia Tech transfer Shai McKenzie will continue career at FCS level

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Six and a half months later, and after restrictions were placed on him, Shai McKenzie has found a new college football home.

Friday, it was confirmed by the Newport News Daily Press that McKenzie will continue his collegiate playing career at Hampton University. As the Pirates play at the FCS level, McKenzie will be eligible to play immediately in 2017.

The running back would have another season of eligibility to use beyond this season as well if he so chooses.

In mid-January of this year, McKenzie announced his decision to transfer from Virginia Tech.

A four-star 2014 recruit, only one signee was rated higher than McKenzie in Tech’s class that year.

The Pennsylvania native’s career actually began with promise as he was second on the Hokies in rushing as a true freshman when he went down with a torn ACL in the fifth game of the season. At that time, McKenzie had 269 yards on the ground; in the two years after, he ran for a combined 126 yards.

His 2015 season was limited to two games because of the lingering effects of the ACL injury. Last season, McKenzie ran for 76 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

Virginia Tech, BYU add way-into-the-future home-and-home

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Don’t worry, you’ll have some time to set travel plans for this series, especially the last game of it.

Friday, both BYU and Virginia Tech confirmed that the two football programs had reached an agreement on a future home-and-home series.  The Cougars and Hokies will meet at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Virginia, on Sept. 26, 2026, with the second game scheduled for Sept. 14, 2030, at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.

The 2026 game will mark the first-ever between the two football teams.

“Virginia Tech has consistently been one of the best teams in college football for a very long time,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a statement. “They are always in the running for the top spot in the ACC because of their high level of talent and great coaching. We are pleased to be able to schedule this series.”

This is actually the second game BYU has scheduled for the 2026 season, with the first half of a home-and-home with Arizona being the other.  Tech has one-upped that as the BYU game that season completes their non-conference schedule nearly a decade out — VMI (Sept. 5), Old Dominion (Sept. 12) and Maryland (Sept. 19).

The VMI and ODU games were also announced today by Tech as part of a massive schedule dump by the program.

Tech will face ODU every season from 2026 through 2031, with the teams playing three games each at their respective homes.  Five games against Liberty were also announced, the first coming in 2022 followed by four in a row from 2027-2030.  Three of those games will be played in Blacksburg (2027, 2028, 2029).

Protests growing over Michael Vick’s impending induction into Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame

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One new addition to Virginia Tech’s Sports Hall of Fame is causing a bit of controversy and consternation and angst.

On July 11, it was announced that Michael Vick would be one of five inductees into the university’s Hall of Fame.  There is little doubt that, on the field, Vick was one of the greatest players in the history of Hokies football and, for that, he deserves a spot.

Off the field, some would argue, precludes him from such an honor.  After leaving Blacksburg, Vick served 19 months in a federal prison after being convicted on dogfighting charges.

As noted by the Roanoke Times,  there are two different online petitions on change.org (HERE and HERE) at the moment that are pushing for the university to reverse its inclusion of Vick as part of this year’s class.  As of this posting, nearly 100,000 individuals combined have signed the petitions, one of which notes that one of the school’s own criteria for inclusion is “[m]ust be of good character and reputation/not have been a source of embarrassment to the university in any way.”

“The College unequivocally opposes honoring an individual whose past actions contradict our values and the cornerstone of our mission,” a Facebook statement from Dr. Cyril Clarke, dean of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, began. “Over the course of several days, I have communicated with President [Timothy] Sands and other campus administrators to express our disappointment and opposition to this decision. I continue to be in conversations with the president regarding this issue.”

In response to the burgeoning brouhaha, the university released a statement defending Vick’s induction that includes shining a light on the former Hokies quarterback’s post-conviction actions.

Mr. Vick’s induction into the university’s sports Hall of Fame acknowledges his tremendous achievements as a student athlete — who some will say was the greatest in the history of the university. We understand that there are those who do not and will never agree with this decision.

“In considering Mr. Vick’s nomination to our sports Hall of Fame, the criminal activities in which he engaged, his subsequent conviction and time he served for his crime were also considered, and it was informed by the remorse he has shown since that conviction, the work he is currently engaged in to advance animal welfare issues, as well as his efforts to help our current student athletes, based on lessons he’s learned in his own life, make positive choices as they begin their adult lives. This in no way condones the actions for which he was convicted. The university remains dedicated to the protection of animal health and welfare and embodies great care and compassion for all living animals.

Vick’s third-place finish in the voting for the 1999 Heisman Trophy is the highest ever for a Hokie.

The 2017 class, including Vick (for now), are scheduled to be inducted at a Sept. 22 ceremony. A day later, the same group will be honored at halftime of the football game vs. Old Dominion.