It’s déjà vu all over again when it comes to a Conference USA school adding a transfer from the same ACC program.
Earlier this week, wide receiver Eric Kumah, who in January announced his decision to transfer from Virginia Tech, tweeted that he would continue his collegiate playing career at Old Dominion. On Twitter Wednesday night, Chris Cunningham (pictured, center), a teammate of Kumah at Tech, announced that he has decided to transfer to, you guessed it, Old Dominion.
As a graduate transfer, Cunningham will be eligible to play immediately at ODU in 2019.
Primarily a blocking tight end, Cunningham started a pair of games in 2018 for the Hokies and finished the season with 74 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches. He leaves Blacksburg with 22 receptions for 297 yards and seven touchdowns in his career — including one (pictured, center) against his new school.
A subplot in these twin roster developments? Old Dominion beat then-No. 13 Virginia Tech last season to earn that football program’s first-ever win over a Power Five school. An even better subplot? ODU will face Tech in Week 2 of the 2019 season — and Cunningham and Kumah will be eligible to play against their former team in Blacksburg.
Former Virginia Tech wideout Eric Kumah will play his final season at Old Dominion, the player has announced.
“I want to thank Coach Foster for giving me the opportunity to attend this prestigious university,” Kumah tweeted. “I would also like to thank Coach Wiggins for believing in me the last 3 years, for that I will forever be thankful. After talking it over with my family and being informed that my position coach (Coach Wiggins) has accepted a position elsewhere, I’ve decided that its best for me to enter my name into the transfer portal. This will allow me to explore my options as a graduate transfer for my senior season. Overall, I feel that is best for my future. I will never forget the memories made at Virginia Tech. I will always support my teammates no matter where I end up and hope you all reach your goals. Once a Hokie always a Hokie.”
Kumah saw the field as a true freshman in 2016 but did not record any statistics. However, he quickly rose the ranks from there, hauling in 28 grabs for 324 yards and a pair of scores in 2017, then 42 receptions for 559 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018. He was Virginia Tech’s second-leading receiver last season.
For the record, Kumah snared three receptions for 35 yards when his new team beat his old team, 49-35, on Sept. 22.
Old Dominion represents a good opportunity for Kumah, as the Monarchs’ top three receivers — Travis Fulgham, Jonathan Duhart and Isaiah Harper — all graduated. The trio combined for 192 receptions for 2,607 yards and 19 touchdowns last season, all of which are up for grabs this fall.
On the same day Virginia Tech wished good luck to their former wide receivers coach, the Hokies officially welcomed Jafar Williams as the new receivers coach in Blacksburg.
“I knew the qualities we wanted in an assistant coach and recruiter to fill this position,” Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente said in a released statement. “Jafar possesses familiarity with our offensive philosophy, as well as our coaching style and expectations. Jafar has been through the recruiting process as a coach and a student-athlete and has built solid relationships across our region. He has also paid his dues in the coaching ranks, gained experience in a variety of different positions during his career. We’re excited about him joining our coaching staff at Virginia Tech.”
Williams will join a staff that will look to find some stability with the offense in 2019 after a handful of roster changes this offseason. A number of Virginia Tech players have entered their name into the NCAA transfer portal, including wide receiver Eric Kumah and quarterback Josh Jackson.
For Williams, this is a return to the ACC. A former wide receiver at Maryland when the Terrapins were a part of the ACC, Williams will be an assistant coach for the first time in the ACC after years of experience with multiple Big Ten programs (Maryland, Rutgers, Purdue, and Northwestern).
Williams will replace Holmon Wiggins, who is leaving Virginia Tech to join the coaching staff at Alabama.
This is certainly an odd development that, given the plethora of transfers that only continues to rise, could actually become the norm.
Tuesday night, a pair of Virginia Tech football players, including second-leading receiver Eric Kumah, took to Twitter to announce that they had decided to transfer/enter their name into the NCAA transfer database. A day later, it’s being reported that Josh Jackson, who, after going through a tumultuous offseason, began 2018 as the Hokies’ starting quarterback only to suffer a season-ending injury, has placed his name in the transfer database as well.
Given all of the abrupt roster upheaval, Tech head coach Justin Fuente issued a statement Wednesday afternoon somewhat addressing the developments over the last 24 hours or so.
Virginia Tech scratched their way into a bowl game by scheduling an emergency 12th game at the end of the regular season, and the Hokies made sure to take advantage of their bowl eligibility right at the start of the Military Bowl in Annapolis this afternoon. Virginia Tech marched right down the field on the game’s opening possession against Cincinnati, and the Hokies and Bearcats are knotted at 14-14 at halftime in Annapolis, Maryland.
Ryan Willis completed a 21-yard pass to Eric Kumah on Virginia Tech’s opening possession for a touchdown at the end of a 10-play drive. The instant replay booth had to take a look at the catch to verify the result on the field before the Hokies could officially enjoy their early lead. The lead did not last for long, however, as Cincinnati responded with a touchdown drive of their own on their first offensive series. On 3rd & 8 from the Virginia Tech 38-yard line, Desmond Ridder dumped off a screen pass to Charles McClelland who followed some key blocks down the field as he found an open path for a long touchdown to even the score at 7-7.
Cincinnati lost Ridder at quarterback to a right leg injury late in the first quarter, with Hayden Moore stepping in to guide the offense. Ridder returned to the Cincinnati sideline later in the second quarter but was seen with a boot on his leg, thus ruling his return out of the question for the Bearcats.
Despite playing with Moore at QB and after some initial rhythm issues as he first entered the game, Cincinnati would take the lead early in the second quarter in somewhat bizarre fashion. Virginia Tech forced a fumble by Cincinnati running back Michael Warren II. The loose ball was recovered in the end zone by Kahlil Lewis of Cincinnati for a Bearcats touchdown.
Virginia Tech tied the game with a goal-line push of their own, without the aide of a fumble recovery, when Steven Peoples pushed across the goal line on a second down play. The Hokies had a chance to take a lead just before halftime, but a long field goal try by Brian Johnson slipped just wide of the goal post despite having the distance.