Refreshing Optimism Abounds After Sports Illustrated’s Dive Into Virginia Tech’s 2018 Season

Virginia Tech’s 2018 season was an anomaly for many reasons. The team finished with a sub-.500 record for the first time in ages, the defense posted one of their worst seasons in recent memory and over a dozen players entered the transfer portal.

The speculation ran rampant, especially as Tech’s team seem to fall apart late in games. Sports Illustrated’s in-depth behind the scenes look confirmed what many of us thought — there were deep divisions inside the Hokies’ locker room that set a poor example for the team’s younger players, which comprised most of the roster.

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Monday Mail: Bud Foster’s Departure, Breakout Players and Justin Fuente’s Contract

Welcome back, folks! College football is right around the corner, as is Virginia Tech’s season-opener vs. Boston College on Aug. 31. The Hokies are well into preseason camp, so it’s time to revive Monday Mail.

Thanks for submitting your questions this week. Let’s get started with the biggest news of the preseason.

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The End of Another Era: Bud Foster Deserves a Legend’s Ending

As sportswriters, we get the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with all sorts of people. Some of the people in the business are a pain to deal with, while others are as nice and as welcoming as they come.

Often, it’s hard to find a figure that is not only at the top of his profession but who is also a genuinely nice human being. But I found that guy in Bud Foster. And while we should all congratulate Foster on retiring from football, it’s going to be tough when he’s no longer around.

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Virginia Tech’s Quiet Strength: The Receiving Corps

There are plenty of negative topics to discuss in regards to Virginia Tech’s 2019 season. Tech has little to no depth along the defensive line and at defensive back, while any hope of having a proven producer at running back for the 2019 season has faded.

While all of these have been covered extensively, one unit getting little attention is the Hokies’ group of receivers. This is a shame, cause this unit is quite good and despite the many weaknesses the Hokies have, the receiving corps may prove to be Virginia Tech’s saving grace.

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A Contentious, Uneasy Feeling Regarding Virginia Tech’s Defensive Line

Last season was not a banner year for the “Lunch Pail” defense. Virginia Tech’s defensive unit struggled both up front and on the back end, finishing 106th in rush defense and 63rd in pass defense.

I can bust out more statistics, but if you watched a decent number of the games from 2018, those stats would paint you a picture you’ve already seen. The Hokies’ defense was uncharacteristically bad.

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Nats Notes: Washington Needs Another Reliever

When the Nationals were 19-31 in May, a playoff push seemed unlikely. At best, it would take until at least late August for them to truly be in the mix. One mid-season surge later, the Nationals are 52-45 and hold the top Wild Card position in the NL, sitting 5.5 games behind the Braves in the NL East. Whereas they were in line to have an inactive trade deadline, they can be buyers now.

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Tavien Feaster Could Be Virginia Tech’s Golden Ticket

How often does a player on a national championship-winning team, who’s one season removed a 1,000-yard season, decide to leave the program?

It feels like it’s happening more and more, and that former Clemson running back Tavien Feaster is just another example of an accomplished player looking for greener pastures.

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Alexander-Walker Provides Pelicans With Two-Way Versatility

Dell Curry (15th in 1986) was the highest-drafted Virginia Tech basketball player in the lottery era. Nickeil Alexander-Walker had a chance to top that and though he fell short, his selection was history-making nonetheless.

The Hokies’ star guard wound up being taken at No. 17 by the New Orleans Pelicans. It’s not as high as he could have been selected — although it was within the range that most mock drafts had him — but it is among the more intriguing destinations.

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Justin Robinson Gets Opportunity of a Lifetime With Washington Wizards

This hits home for me. I can honestly say that I’ve never felt a closer connection to a star college athlete than with Virginia Tech’s Justin Robinson. We were one class apart, but he went to middle school right up the road and I was one of those guys that went to games. Then we overlapped for three years of college, during which I claimed to already be all-knowing about him. There was also never a player I felt more comfortable talking to following a game than Robinson — I even wrote a feature of sorts on him during his breakout junior season.
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Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s Possible Landing Spots in 2019 NBA Draft

Few Virginia Tech basketball players have generated such high draft prospects as guard/forward Nickeil Alexander-Walker. The sophomore star showed drastic improvements this year, and his work is going to pay off on Thurs., June 20.

Here’s a look at where Alexander-Walker is projected to go in the 2019 NBA Draft, using some reputable publications’ mock drafts.

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