The transfer portal has changed college football. In 2019, the Virginia Tech Hokies saw several players enter the portal. Fortunately for Virginia Tech, two of the more significant entries into the portal — quarterback Hendon Hooker and running back Deshawn McClease — decided to remain at Virginia Tech.
For the most part, a number of the players who departed after the 2018 was more of addition by subtraction.
The Hokies even picked up a solid quarterback with two years of eligibility remaining in former four-star recruit, Braxton Burmeister.
In 2020, the transfer portal struck again. This time, the depth at the wide receiver position took a hit as Damon Hazelton, Hezekiah Grimsley, Jacoby Pinckney and Phil Patterson all entered the transfer portal.
However, the Hokies have done quite well in the portal in 2020 in terms of guys who are entering the program. On Monday, 247Sports released the rankings of players across the country in the transfer portal and the Hokies brought in three players ranked in the top 100.
Running back Khalil Herbert, a transfer from Kansas, was ranked as the No. 13 overall transfer and the top running back. Herbert, a 5-foot-9, 200-pound senior with instant eligibility, rushed for 1,735 yards and 14 touchdowns during his time at Kansas.
Herbert was ranked ahead of a couple of former five-star running backs quite familiar to Virginia Tech fans in Ricky Slade and Jaelen Gill.
Herbert is expected to play a major role in Tech’s offense in 2020.
Another big addition to the 2020 Hokies is wide receiver/running back Raheem Blackshear. A transfer from Rutgers, Blackshear has two years of eligibility remaining but must sit out the 2020 season. He is expected to petition for a waiver for immediate eligibility.
At 5-foot-9, 192 pounds, Blackshear is considered the No. 23 overall transfer and is listed as a running back. The Hokies expect to use Blackshear in a variety of roles to get the football in his hands. An excellent receiver, Blackshear rushed for 912 yards and six touchdowns. He also caught 80 passes for six scores in a total of 27 games in two-plus seasons for the Scarlet Knights.
The coaching staff is excited about Blackshear. IF he is eligible this year, he will be in the mix with Tre Turner, James Mitchell and Tayvion Robinson for the ball in the passing game.
The Hokies also added an impact defender in Youngstown State transfer Justus Reed. A 6-foot-3, 270-pound defensive end, Reed is ranked as the No. 77 overall transfer in this cycle.
At Youngstown State in 2019, Reed finished the season with 19 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks. He is expected to be an immediate starter at defensive end opposite of, presumably, TyJuan Garbutt.
It was the first time in five years of collegiate football that Reed stayed healthy for an entire season. Reed, who originally signed with Florida and spent two years there, transferred after injuries forced him down the depth chart.
Reed is a part of new defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton’s shift to bigger defensive ends — and defensive linemen in general.
The Hokies also added another Kansas transfer in wide receiver Evan Fairs, who was unranked. If nothing else, Fairs provides experienced depth for the Hokies at wide receiver.
While it has become frustrating for coaches and fans, the transfer portal is here to stay and movement will happen at every school each year.