For the second consecutive offseason, the Virginia Tech football program is at odds with the NCAA over a player's bid for immediate eligibility.
A year ago, it was offensive lineman Brock Hoffman, who was seeking an immediate eligibility waiver as a transfer from Coastal Carolina to Virginia Tech due to a family medical issue. Hoffman was denied off the bat by the NCAA, and then denied once more on appeal.
He sat out last season and now will play the 2020 football season as a redshirt-junior.
This year, the Hokies are in a similar situation, as running back Raheem Blackshear, who transferred to Virginia Tech from Rutgers, had his waiver for immediate eligibility denied by the NCAA on Thursday.
"Raheem Blackshear's waiver for immediate eligibility was denied by the NCAA. We were shocked and saddened, but will work through the appeals process," head coach Justin Fuente said on Friday.
"Our compliance department will present our case for him in an appeal to the NCAA. We feel good about our stance on the appeal, and I'm cautiously optimistic we can turn it around in relatively short order," Fuente added.
It's been a frustrating couple of years for Virginia Tech and the NCAA in regard to the transfer eligibility process, which is something that isn't lost on Fuente.
When asked about his stance on the process of applying for immediate eligibility in college athletics, Fuente didn't shy away from providing a sincere answer.
"I think changes are coming, and I have a number of strong opinions on this and other matters that I've discussed with my players. I think it surprised some of them that I was as opinionated on certain issues as I was. We'll have time to get into what some of those opinions are at some point in the future, but given everything else going on right now, it's probably not the time," Fuente said.
Blackshear figured to be a pretty large component of the offense if he gained immediate eligibility. His athleticism both as a ball carrier and as a receiver in the slot certainly would have been a boon to the Virginia Tech offense this season.
With him out of the fold for now, the Hokies will continue to look to sophomore Tayvion Robinson to provide stability to the roster as a slot receiver.