Monday Mail is back, folks. Thank you once again for submitting your questions and I hope you’ll enjoy my opinion and insight. Let’s go ahead and dive right into things.
What’s your assessment of the new RB commit?
— Mark Turner (@mytvt3) July 29, 2018
In the biggest news of the week, Virginia Tech added a commitment from Keshawn King to their Class of 2019. King is a three-star running back prospect from Orange Park, Fla. and is listed at 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds.
King is far from Devyn Ford, but there’s potential nonetheless. Judging from King’s film, he’s a shifty back with solid top-end speed. King looks a little bigger than his listed height and weight and should be able to hold up against bigger competition, so there aren’t any obvious concerns about his longevity.
He’ll never be a bruiser, but King looks like a real home run threat. He has experience running out of both the shotgun and pistol formations, so he’s used to that style of running already. He can also catch short passes out of the backfield and contribute in the passing game.
Fifteen Power 5 programs deemed King worthy of a scholarship offer. King has real pedigree and seems like a solid overall prospect. He isn’t Ford, but it wasn’t realistic to expect Virginia Tech to snag a player of that caliber this late in the cycle.
King’s commitment means the Hokies are likely done at running back for this class. Virginia Tech will have seven scholarship running backs in 2019, including King and excluding Steven Peoples, who is slated to graduate. The Hokies are carrying more scholarship backs than are necessary, but Tech is also still looking for a real difference maker there.
How much Dalton Keene do expect to see this season and do you expect that to occur earlier rather than later?
— Believe in Buzz (@PappyCather) July 28, 2018
Tight ends coach James Shibest said in the spring that the tight ends were getting the ball more than ever in practice. That still might not be that much, given how little the tight ends were a factor in 2017. Dalton Keene and Chris Cunningham combined to catch 19 passes last season and rarely factored into the Hokies’ offense.
Both are a year older and should see more targets by default. But I don’t believe either will be consistent offensive threats in 2018.
Keene is more a fullback than a tight end. He’s got a tight end build but was usually lined up in the backfield in 2017. Perhaps his role grows as he develops as a player, but Brad Cornelsen wasn’t too confident in his receiving abilities last season. Cunningham is noted as the better receiver, but has caught 15 passes in two seasons.
Josh Jackson might rely more on his tight ends this season and that could inflate both Keene and Cunningham’s stats by default. But based on what we’ve seen so far, neither will be a dynamic offensive threat in 2018 despite seeing the field frequently.
Lots of rumor mill around Buzz Williams and potential move. What is the likelihood he is coaching the Hokies in fall 2019?
— Jason Painter (@Dropcloth_F3) July 29, 2018
The Buzz Williams rumor mill has been circling for years and rightfully so. Williams has flirted with four different schools since taking the Virginia Tech job, and now he’s lost two coaches and a 2018 signee.
Williams will be coaching Virginia Tech this coming season. But outside of that, there are no guarantees. The amount of turnover within the program over the last year is remarkable and Williams is likely eyeing other jobs already.
It’s disappointing for fans to hear, but I believe it’s the truth. Williams has toyed with other jobs since his first offseason and has seen two of his most-trusted assistants — Jeff Reynolds and Steve Roccaforte — leave the program. Roccaforte would not be leaving Virginia Tech for East Carolina, one of the worst Division I programs in the country, without a valid reason.
I’d put the percentage around 40-45 percent. Williams loses three key players next season in Justin Robinson, Chris Clarke and Ahmed Hill, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker could declare for the NBA Draft after his sophomore season. That sounds like the perfect time for Williams to move on to his next stop.