How did the Underclassmen Recruits fare against Georgia Tech?
Back in the win column go the Hokies. This week was a solid and collective effort by the Virginia Tech football team to get a win on the road. We saw both veterans and newcomers play to their ability this past weekend. Today we are going to focus on those 2020 and 2021 recruits to see how they helped contribute against Georgia Tech.
Class of 2020:
OL Kaden Moore: We welcome Kaden back to his normal spot, after playing a bit down to his normal self. This week against Georgia Tech, Kaden looked like an absolute unit. He solidified that he should be starting at that right guard spot, especially with the rotation Coach Vice had going against the Yellow Jackets.
Among the offensive line, Kaden ranked in the top six for both his run and pass blocking. Kaden Moore held a PFF pass-blocking grade of 68.0, while his run-blocking grade sat at 66.0. He also held a 100% efficiency rating in terms of preventing sacks, pressures, and hurries against the quarterback. The Virginia Tech offense will need more performances like this from Moore to keep this offense trudging.
Possible New Names: The usual suspects out of the 2020 class struggled a bit against Georgia Tech. However, some names that I expect to be on top of their game this Friday for Boston College would be CB Dorian Strong, P Peter Moore, and S Keonta Jenkins. All three of that group have shown they can contribute, but just need to get back into a rthymn.
Class of 2021:
RB Malachi Thomas: I know the only question left concerning Malachi Thomas is: Why wasn't he starting sooner? The freshmen phenom has been great for the offensive attack for the past two weeks. Adding another top-notch performance onto his resume, Thomas is looking to become the new staple running back at Virginia Tech.
Thomas rushed for 103 yards against Georgia Tech and averaged 4.1 yards a carry to pair with it. PFF awarded the young running back with a rushing grade of 74.1, which was the highest mark on the Virginia Tech offense. He also had two rushes that went for over 10 yards in his 25 rushing attempts. Malachi Thomas has been just what the Hokies needed to revive this rushing game that had seemingly disappeared.
S Jalen Stroman: Not many of the 2021 recruits are getting nearly as much special teams action as Jalen Stroman right now. The younger brother of an all-time Hokie great in Greg Stroman, this younger sibling is emulating much of things we saw out of his brother. And with the honorary #25 jersey on him this past weekend, Stroman was making plays.
PFF rated Jalen Stroman's special team playing at a 67.0, which was his second-highest rating for special teams this season. He was also responsible for a punt return tackle that pinned the Yellow Jackets back inside their own 20. Jalen Stroman is demanding respect on special teams this year, and it won't be surprising to see him take a larger role next year.
Possible New Names: The 2021 recruits have shown that they have come to contribute early. Some names like DL Cole Nelson, WR Da'Wain Lofton, and RB Chance Black are showing exactly that. Although their time was limited against Georgia Tech, I can see each of them taking up a solid role going into the later part of the season.