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Five Virginia Tech players, including three WRs, enter transfer portal in one day

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When it comes to the portal world, the Virginia Tech football program won the day.  Congrats?

As of this posting, three Virginia Tech football players announced on Twitter Wednesday that they have entered the NCAA transfer database.  Two of those entries are wide receivers — redshirt junior Hezekiah Grimsley (HERE) and true freshman Jacoby Pinckney (HERE) — to go along with running back Caleb Steward (HERE).

On top of that social-media attrition, it has been confirmed that yet another receiver, redshirt junior Phil Patterson, is in the portal.  As is defensive back Khalil Ladler, bringing the one-day total of Virginia Tech football players considering a transfer to five.

Five.  In one day.  The same day the program began winter workouts, it should be noted.

The trio of receivers in the portal actually pushes that group to four overall.  Earlier this month, Damon Hazelton signaled his intention to leave Blacksburg as well.

As for the recently-departed receiving corps particulars:

  • Grimsley — 53 career catches for 691 yards, three touchdowns. Stat line of 10-170-2 in 2019.
  • Patterson — 27 career catches for 269 yards, two touchdowns. Sta line of 6-72-1 in 2019.
  • Pinckney — Four-star 2019 signee who took a redshirt as a true freshman.  He was the No. 3 player regardless of position in the state of South Carolina.

As a redshirt freshman this past season, Steward ran for 85 yards on 19 carries.  Coming out of high school, Steward was a three-star 2018 signee.  He was rated as the No. 74 running back in the country and the No. 196 player at any position in the state of Florida.

A redshirt junior, Ladler played in 13 games each of the past three seasons.  During his time with the Hokies, the Georgia native was credited with 96 tackles, 6½ tackles for loss, five pass breakups, five passes defensed, three forced fumbles and two fumbles recovered.

ACC announces full 2020 football schedule

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College hoops might be the focus for many along the eastern seaboard but planning can soon commence for the fall after the ACC released their full 2020 football schedule on Wednesday.

You can find the full composite ACC football schedule here or the team-by-team breakdown here.

“The accomplishments by our collective football programs over recent years has been remarkable and a compliment to our players, coaches and the leadership at our schools,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “As we look ahead, there’s no shortage of excitement and anticipation for what the 2020 season will bring. Once again, our fans will have an opportunity to watch all of our games across a variety of platforms, including ACC Network which continues to be successful in showcasing our schools and programs.”

On top of the usual ACC slate of divisional and crossover games, Notre Dame will once again be featured heavily on the schedules of league opponents as a result of the school’s annual agreement with the conference. All told there will be six matchups involving the Irish, including a neutral site game against Wake Forest at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte (Sept. 26).  Notre Dame travels to both Pitt (Oct. 17) and Georgia Tech (Nov. 14) while Duke (Oct. 31), Clemson (Nov. 7) and Louisville (Nov. 21) will play in South Bend.

That game against the defending conference champ Tigers is particularly notable given the College Football Playoff implications it carries with Dabo Swinney’s group having a great shot at starting as the preseason No. 1 in 2020 and Brian Kelly likely fielding a top 15 (or higher) team.

Also interesting is the number of trips the ACC will make down to Atlanta for some big non-conference outings (which were obviously previously announced). Florida State will open the Mike Norvell era against West Virginia on Sept. 5 while Virginia plays SEC East champ Georgia on Labor Day. A week later, North Carolina plays Auburn as part of a very tough start to the season for Mack Brown and company with UCF and FCS powerhouse James Madison also on the docket.

We’ll see how it all sorts itself out come September but something says that for all the change that has gone on in the league, the end result of Clemson holding up the trophy probably isn’t going to change anytime soon.

LSU, two B1G schools will have most players on Super Bowl rosters

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The LSU Tigers football program represented the sport well in winning the 2019 national championship, and now they’re set to be well-represented when the next level crowns its Super Bowl champion as well.

Sunday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs again overcame an early deficit to beat the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship game. In the NFC championship game, the San Francisco 49ers pummeled the Green Bay Packers to earn a berth opposite the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. That game will be played at the home of the Miami Hurricanes, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Feb. 2.

The 49ers, seeking their first Super Bowl win since 1994, have four former LSU football players currently listed on their official online roster*. The Chiefs, in search of their first title since 1969, have one former LSU football player on their Super Bowl roster. That total of five is tied for the most for a single school in this year’s game.

The number for LSU is matched by a pair of schools from the Big Ten — Iowa and Penn State — for the most players on Super Bowl rosters this year. Three former Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes play for the 49ers, two for the Chiefs.

Two SEC schools, Florida and Vanderbilt, each have four former players as part of the game, as does Stanford. Middle Tennessee State and San Diego State are two of a gaggle of schools with three players on teams playing in the game, which is the most of any Group of Five conference member.

Conference-wise, it was the SEC leading the way (again) with 32 players, followed by the Big Ten’s 22. The ACC (17), Pac-12 (16), Big 12 (12) and Conference USA (11) were the only other FBS leagues in double digits.

As for the other conferences?

  • Mountain West, nine
  • AAC, six
  • MAC, five
  • Sun Belt, four

Football independents accounted for six players. There were a total of 21 players who played at levels of football other than the FBS.

Below are all of the individual schools that will be represented on Super Sunday:

FIVE
Iowa
LSU
Penn State

FOUR
Florida
Stanford
Vanderbilt

THREE
Arizona
Auburn
Clemson
Kansas State
Middle Tennessee State
Mississippi State
Notre Dame
Ohio State
Oklahoma
Pittsburgh
San Diego State
South Carolina

TWO
Alabama
BYU
Central Michigan
Duke
FAU
Florida State
Georgia Southern
Michigan
Michigan State
NC State
Ole Miss
Oregon
Purdue
Southern Miss
Tennessee
Texas
Texas A&M
USF
Utah
Virginia

ONE
Air Force
Alabama A&M
Appalachian State
Arizona State
Arkansas
Baylor
Boston College
Bowling Green State
Buffalo
Cal
Cincinnati
Colorado
Colorado State
Colorado State-Pueblo
Eastern Illinois
Eastern Michigan
Eastern Washington
Georgia
Georgia Tech
Grand Valley State
Harvard
Hawaii
Illinois
Indiana
James Madison
Louisiana Tech
Louisiana
McGill (Canada)
Minnesota
Montana State
New Hampshire
New Mexico State
North Texas
Northern Illinois
Northern Iowa
Oklahoma State
Old Dominion
Oregon State
Princeton
Samford
San Diego
San Jose State
SMU
South Carolina State
TCU
Temple
Texas Tech
UConn
Utah State
Valdosta State
Villanova
Virginia Tech
Wagner
Washington
West Alabama
Western Illinois
Western Kentucky
Wyoming

(*Includes players on injured reserve, practice squad, etc.)

Virginia Tech joins Ball State in losing WR Damon Hazelton to transfer

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When it comes to Damon Hazelton, the Virginia Tech football team has some transfer company.

Back in May of 2017, the Virginia Tech football team announced that Ball State transfer wide receiver Damon Hazelton had been officially added to the roster. Three years and two on-field seasons later, however, Hazelton took to Twitter to announce that he will be transferring from the Hokies as well.

“Want to say thank you to Virginia Tech, coaches and community for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this University athletically and earn my degree,” the receiver wrote. “It has been an unbelievable time here. To all my brothers and teammates, I love each and every one of you and know this year will be nothing short of amazing.”

As he indicated in his post, Hazelton will be leaving as a graduate transfer.

After sitting out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Hazelton led the Hokies in catches (51), yards (802) and touchdowns (eight) in 2018. This past season, he again led the Hokies in receiving touchdowns (eight), while he was second in yards (527) and tied for second in receptions (31).

Including his time at Ball State, Hazelton has totaled 1,834 yards and 20 touchdowns on 133 catches. The 2020 season will be his final year of eligibility.

Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente will reportedly interview for Baylor job

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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.