The Virginia Tech offense will look a bit different at tight end this fall, as rising junior James Mitchell is primed to take on an even more prominent role with Dalton Keene moving on to the NFL.
Mitchell enjoyed a successful breakout season as Tech's number two tight end a year ago, catching 21 passes for 361 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding four rushing touchdowns on the ground on five total carries.
Mitchell's versatility will serve the Hokies well as he earns more snaps, but he's not the only tight end in the room who should be earning more significant playing time.
Sophomore Nick Gallo has received praise from Justin Fuente and the coaching staff as a player on the offensive side of the football who boasts loads of potential. Mitchell spoke highly of Gallo during media availability on Wednesday, with a consistent message to that of the coaching staff.
"Nick is a good teammate, one of the better teammates I've been around. He's always encouraging all the guys whether he's in getting snaps or on the side. As far as him on the field, he's a good route-runner and is coming along in the run game as well. He's made a lot of progress," Mitchell said.
It is clear Gallo will have a role in the passing game this fall, but how many snaps he earns will likely be predicated on how much his blocking continues to improve. If he continues making strides in that facet of his game, he has the opportunity to become a very good all-around tight end for the Hokies.
Expect to see plenty of Gallo on the field this fall for the Virginia Tech offense.