The Virginia Tech Hokies are expected to have a pretty good team in 2020. With 18 starters returning on both sides of the football, this season was expected to be a pretty big one for fifth-year head coach Justin Fuente.
The Phil Steele 2020 College Football Preview dropped this week and he appears quite high on the Hokies.
Steele has Virginia Tech as his No. 18 team entering the season. However, Steele has Coastal rivals UNC and Miami ranked ahead of the Hokies, at No. 16 and No. 17, respectively.
In addition to his rankings, Steels also provided his preseason All-ACC selections and he picked a total of 13 Hokies from the first team to the fourth team.
Leading the way for Virginia Tech on the first team is senior linebacker Rayshard Ashby. Ashby, who led the ACC in tackles last year, is one of the most reliable and productive defenders in the ACC.
To the surprise of no one, joining Ashby on the first team is junior cornerback Caleb Farley. The 6-foot-2 Farley was among the top cornerbacks in all of college football last fall and has the chance to be an All-American this season.
Next was offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw. The 6-foot-5, 311-pound junior started all 13 games for the Hokies at left tackle last fall.
Finally, we have senior punter Oscar Bradburn. Bradburn was honorable-mention All-ACC in each of the last two seasons and was a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award last fall. For his career, Bradburn has averaged 43.6 yards per punt, with 69 punts landing inside the 20-yard line.
Sophomore Tayvion Robinson made Steele’s second team as a punt returner.
Junior guard Lecitus Smith, defensive tackle Jarrod Hewitt and cornerback Jermaine Waller were named to Steele’s preseason third-team All-ACC.
Several Hokies made Steele’s fourth team and they include wide receiver Tre Turner, defensive end Justus Reed, linebacker Dax Hollifield, safety Divine Deablo and kicker Brian Johnson.
Steele is certainly high on a number of Hokies and one could quibble with Turner and Waller being ranked so low. There are certainly not nine better receivers than Turner in the ACC. And Waller gets overshadowed by Farley’s greatness.
The release of Steele’s preview is always an exciting time for college football fans. Now, we just need college football.