It was quite the interesting day on the coaching front for the Virginia Tech football program. To say the least.
Tuesday afternoon, Virginia Tech announced that Justin Fuente had hired Ryan Smith as cornerbacks coach. That move completed Fuente’s 10-man on-field staff after a month of change.
Less than four hours after that move was announced, however, Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports reported that Baylor is targeting Fuente as its next head football coach. In fact, Thamel wrote, Baylor is “planning an in-person interview in the next 24 hours” with Fuente.
Fuente just completed his fourth season as the Virginia Tech football head coach, coming to Blacksburg from Memphis. During his time at Tech, the Hokies have gone 33-20 overall and 20-12 in ACC play. Twice they’ve finished second in the Coastal Division, including 2019.
Fuente is 1-3 in bowl games at Tech, but is 3-1 vs. rival Virginia. That lone loss came this past season.
Baylor has an opening because Matt Rhule left after three seasons to take the job with the Carolina Panthers.
According to FootballScoop.com, Louisiana’s Billy Napier has already interviewed for the BU job. Pursued by Mississippi State, Napier opted to remain at the Sun Belt Conference school.
The website also noted that LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson are candidates. They could also stay in-house with current BU assistant Joey McGuire.
By way of Rutgers, the Virginia Tech football roster has seen a rather significant infusion of backfield talent.
After playing in the first four games of the 2019 season, Raheem Blackshear, a team captain, opted to sideline himself for the remainder of the campaign in order to preserve a year of eligibility. Three months later, Blackshear indicated on Twitter that he has decided to leave RU and continue his playing career with the Virginia Tech football program.
According to 247Sports.com, Blackshear chose Tech over Temple. He had also considered a return to Rutgers.
It’s expected that Blackshear, a redshirt sophomore, will seek a waiver that would allow him to play immediately in 2020. If that appeal is denied, he would be left with one season of eligibility he could use in 2021.
A three-star 2017 signee, Blackshear ran for 238 yards as a true freshman. The next season, he led the Scarlet Knights in rushing with 586 yards.
Blackshear is also a significant asset in the passing game.
In addition to being the leading rusher in 2018, Blackshear also led the team in receptions (44), receiving yards (367) and receiving touchdowns (two). Despite playing in just four games this past season, he was second on the Scarlet Knights with 29 receptions (the leader, Bo Melton, had 30) and 310 yards (Melton had 427). His two receiving touchdowns were tied with Melton for the team lead as well.
When it came to filling a hole in his NC State football coaching staff, Dave Doeren brought aboard a man armed with extensive knowledge of the ACC.
Thursday, it was confirmed that Charley Wiles has been hired as Doeren’s new defensive line coach. In December, Virginia Tech announced that it would be parting ways with the veteran assistant.
“I’m very excited to bring Charley to our staff,” the NC State football coach said in a statement. “He’s a highly-decorated and respected coach – not only in our region and conference, but in our profession. I look forward to having his personality around our guys and I know that he will bring an extremely positive attitude, a great work ethic, and a wealth of knowledge when it comes to developing and coaching defensive linemen.
“He also brings a history of incredible success recruiting in the state of North Carolina.”
Wiles spent 24 seasons as the line coach at Tech. After playing his college football for Frank Beamer at Murray State, Wiles joined his former head coach’s staff at Tech in 1996. Over the next 24 seasons, Wiles served as the Hokies’ line coach.
After his departure from Tech, Wiles was given one of the famed lunch pails by retiring Hokies defensive coordinator Bud Foster. Wiles was just the second individual to receive the symbol of the “Lunch Pail Defense,” the first being former VT defensive lineman Daryl Tapp.
“I can’t wait to get to work, get to know our defensive line and become a part of Wolfpack Nation,” said Wiles. “Andi and I are excited about living in the Raleigh area and to be a part of what is happening at NC State. Coach Doeren has been great through this whole process and I look forward to working with him, Coach [Tony] Gibson and the rest of the defensive staff.”
The continued revamping of the Virginia Tech’s defensive staff in the wake of Bud Foster’s retirement continued on Wednesday.
In an announcement by the school, the Hokies confirmed the addition of recent Buffalo Bills assistant Bill Teerlinck as the team’s new defensive line coach.
“I believe Bill is one of the best in the business in terms of coaching the defensive line,” head coach Justin Fuente said in a statement. “He’s worked his way up the coaching ranks and has learned from some of the NFL’s most respected defensive coaches. Obviously, Bill and I have history working together and the timing was finally right for him to get back into the college game. He will be another solid addition to our staff and I’m excited for him to join us at Virginia Tech.”
Teerlinck first got his coaching start alongside Fuente at Illinois State and will return to his staff alongside Darryl Tapp — who will serve as co-defensive line coach. In addition to the Bills, Teerlinck spent time with the Indianapolis Colts and has FBS coaching experience from a stint at Nevada from 2012-16.
The Hokies previously announced Justin Hamilton as the program’s new defensive coordinator last month as he takes over Foster after decades running that side of the ball in Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech opens the 2020 season with a home game against Liberty before a big non-conference test against Penn State the following week so all these new hires will certainly be put to the test early on during the upcoming campaign.
Not surprisingly, the Virginia Tech football program has sustained a personnel loss.
Because of injuries, fifth-year senior Deshawn McClease could’ve used a sixth season of eligibility he had previously been given by the NCAA and returned to the Virginia Tech football in 2020. Instead, the running back confirmed on Instagram that he will enter the April NFL draft.
“To my teammates and brothers, I cannot begin to express the joy that I get knowing that we have built a bond that will last a lifetime,” McClease wrote. ” As you attack the 2020 season understand that if it were easy, everyone would do it.
“Do everything with purpose.”
Because of injuries, McClease played in just one game his first two seasons with the Hokies. He played in 23 games in 2017 and 2018, totaling 963 yards and five touchdowns on 204 carries.
In 2019, McClease led Virginia Tech football with 843 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. In the wil Belk Bowl loss to Kentucky, he ran for a career-high 126 yards.
McClease was a three-star member of the Hokies’ 2015 recruiting class.