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How did the Underclassmen Recruits fare against UVA?

By Evan Norris | December 01
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WR Da'Wain Lofton for a 35-yard reception

"This is my school. This is Home." - Interim Head Coach J.C Price. Those are the words that stuck with every Hokie either young or old after the win against UVA this past weekend. And for some of the younger players on this team, they have been emulating that all year. For some, they had a game of a lifetime. We will now look into which 2020 and 2021 football recruits contributed the most to the winning effort against UVA.

Class of 2020:

OL Parker Clements: If anyone has had such a late-season flip as Parker Clements, I would love to know who. Clements was an offensive lineman who struggled to find his way earlier in the season and has seemingly found it in the most crucial stretch for the Hokies. And the way that this young lineman performed against the Cavaliers this past weekend, he deserves to be on this list.

At the right tackle spot, Clements amounted for 64 snaps from the offensive side of the ball. In his time on the field, Clements managed to record a PFF Offensive grade of 92.5. This was largely in part to his amazing contribution on his run blocking for the Hokie's backfield. Clements got himself a PFF Run-Block grade of 91.9 and a Pass-Block grade of 73.6. After such a stellar performance, I wouldn't be surprised to see Clements start at the right tackle spot in the Hokie's bowl game.

OL Kaden Moore: It seems to be the week of the offensive linemen. This performance from Kaden Moore was his best so far as a Virginia Tech starter. Moore is seemingly working his way to be a long-term starter for the Hokies going into future seasons.

Moore ran the right guard spot for the Hokies against UVA. On his 60 snaps at the position, he found himself with a PFF Offensive grade of 83.3, which was third amongst the whole Hokie offense. Much like Clements, Moore exceeded expectations on his PFF Run-Block grade, getting an 84.8. And for his PFF Pass-Block grade, Moore received a 64.5. Another important thing to note is that Moore gave up no sacks to the UVA defense and kept his hands free of penalties.

Possible New Names: This 2020 class is showing that it isn't one to be overlooked by Hokie fans. For instance, three of the starters on this 2021-2022 Virginia Tech team are freshmen out of that 2020 recruiting class. Some names I can see contributing more from this group though are CB Dorian Strong, DL Wilifried Pene, and P Peter Moore. We have seen strong performances from this group already, it is just a matter of when again they will have a break-out performance.

Class of 2021:

S Jalen Stroman: It appears that the staff finally decided to give Stroman a large number of reps for this year's rivalry game. And it paid off, to no one's surprise. Nonetheless, this young 2021 recruit has shown that he can compete amongst some of the more experienced players on this Virginia Tech team.

Stroman highlighted the field against UVA with some great defensive play that we normally don't get to see from him at this rate. His defensive grade out of PFF was 62.7, which was eighth among the whole defense. However, where we saw Jalen Stroman really show off his abilities was at the tackling and coverage categories. For tackling, Stroman had himself the best game on the defense in that category. And for coverage, Stroman ranked first in all of the defensive backs last Saturday.

WR Da'Wain Lofton: The Texas native was a name that we were told to expect large things out of. And for the majority of this season, Lofton has lived up to all of the hype he received. This time out, against UVA, Lofton performed exceptionally well for the Hokies.

Lofton took most of his snaps at the slot position for the Hokie's receiving core. He recorded 42 receiving yards against the Cavaliers and averaged 21.0 yards a catch. Yes, this may have only been on two catches, but also what we saw out of Lofton's continuing help on the run block.

Possible New Names: With the bowl game coming up, it's hard to believe that many new faces will be seen out of this 2021 class this season. However, some that could make an appearance would be DL Cole Nelson, DL Mattheus Carroll, and WR Jaylen Jones. Each having a well-played performance under their belts could easily step in to play in the bowl game.