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Freshmen Files: The Duke Game

By Sam Stromberg | November 15
Duke football
Head Coach Brent Pry stands with Senior Analyst Brian Crist on the sideline in the Hokies' most recent loss to Duke (Photo//Sports Illustrated).

Virginia Tech dropped its eighth game of the season this past weekend to Duke. After striking first a few minutes into the game, the Hokies went scoreless, as Duke scored 24 unanswered points.

During the final stretch of the season, many decisions will be made on potential redshirts (It should be noted that any freshman can play up to four games without burning his redshirt).

Which Hokie freshmen impressed in Durham?

On the Ground

#22 Bryce Duke (Fr., RB) saw two carries for 18 yards in the loss. The true freshman from Leesburg, V.A. has already burned his redshirt. Fellow running back #28 Chance Black (R-Fr., RB) had 13 yards on three carries. I would have liked to see these two involved in the pass game more.

Through the Air

After setting a school record in single game punt-return yards last week vs. Georgia Tech, #11 Tucker Holloway (Fr., PR/WR) looked promising once again. The versatile 6’3” freshman from Andrews, N.C. registered 18 yards on three receptions. Holloway also got involved in the jet-sweep game, which was pretty cool to see. Unfortunately, the Blue Devils did not give Holloway many chances at a return while back deep. Tucker Holloway and Brent Pry will decide this week on his fate for the remainder of the season: sit and redshirt, or play and burn it?

Additionally, #13 Dae’Quan Wright (Fr., TE) got involved in the loss. After getting no receptions vs. Georgia Tech, Wright accounted for 12 yards on three receptions at Duke. Wright has already burned his redshirt, so he should continue to be involved (even more though!)

On Defense

#23 Mansoor Delane (Fr., CB) had seven total tackles and a PBU in addition to a red zone interception. This marked the first interception for the true freshman out of Maryland. Delane continues to impress. He will be CB1 for the Hokies next year, and hopefully for the years to come.

The lengthy #21 Keli Lawson (R-Fr., WLB/SLB) saw a bigger role once again, after his highlight day vs. Georgia Tech last week. The former LB turned WR, turned-back to LB, displayed impressive closing speed on Duke QB Riley Leonard, totalling seven tackles, one of which was a TFL.

In the Kicking-Game

True freshman #97 John Love (Fr., K) saw his Hokie debut in Saturday's loss. The true freshman from Spartanburg, S.C. was ranked as the 14th overall kicker in his class, according to 247 Sports. Love was 1/1 on PAT’s, but missed a 50-yard FG attempt. Junior Kicker Will Ross has struggled as of late, prompting the decision to start Love. It will be interesting to see who Special Teams Coordinator Stu Holt trots out for the remainder of the season. Nonetheless, it was good seeing the true freshman get some reps.

What's Next?

The Hokies travel to Lynchburg, V.A. this week to take on Liberty University. The Flames (8-2) are coming off of a surprising loss to UConn. Just a week prior, Liberty beat Arkansas in Fayetteville.

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Been a Hokie fan ever since I can remember. Immensely passionate about journalism and Virginia Tech sports. Go Hokies!

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