Virginia Tech Offensive Lineman Tyrell Smith Will Play This Fall for Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech offensive lineman and team captain Tyrell Smith will utilize his extra year of eligibility and will return to the Hokies this fall. Smith confirmed the news to Sons of Saturday on Wednesday after informing the team that he would be returning to the fold.
The return of Smith provides a boost to the depth of the Virginia Tech offensive line, which remains one of the team's biggest question marks heading into fall camp. Justin Fuente and his staff weren't shy about their concerns with the offensive front throughout the spring, consistently messaging that better depth was needed for the Hokies to reach their potential in 2021.
With the departures of Bryan Hudson and Doug Nester to the transfer portal, coupled with Christian Darrisaw's exit to the NFL, the Hokies have been desperately trying to fit the pieces around returning starters Luke Tenuta, Lecitus Smith, and Brock Hoffman. Center Johnny Jordan has transferred into the program from Maryland, and tackle Silas Dzansi returns as a redshirt-junior, but outside of that duo, the Hokies will likely be working freshmen into major rotational roles up front this fall.
Smith has been a member of the Hokies since the 2015 football season, making this fall his seventh collegiate football season. He utilized one regular redshirt in 2015, and a medical redshirt in 2019 as well. The upcoming 2021 season will be made possible for Smith due to the 2020 COVID-19 season, which did not count against amateur eligibility across collegiate athletics.
So how does Smith fit into the fold this fall?
At the very least, he provides special teams experience and a veteran presence in the rotation on the offensive line. Throughout his career, Smith has always contributed on special teams, while working into the rotation here and there on the offensive line as needed. With the offensive line proving to be a major question mark come the fall, both from the standpoint of who will be starting, as well as the depth behind those starters, the addition of Smith will be instrumental both from a personnel standpoint, as well as from a locker room standpoint.
With multiple freshmen likely to see a bigger role than anticipated, Smith will be able to mentor the young players, while also playing a role on the offensive line as needed. For a team that needs help up front this fall, the return of Smith will be a welcomed addition for Justin Fuente and company. It will be interesting to see what kind of role Smith will play in the fall, and whether or not there will be more reps for him up front than there have been throughout his career to date.
Regardless, bringing him back into the program is a net positive for the Hokies as they move through summer workouts in preparation for the 2021 football season.