2014 Spring Practice: Virginia Tech’s Strong Group of Returning Receivers


Nov 2, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies wide receiver Joshua Stanford (5) pulls in a 27 yard reception for a first down in the fourth quarter as Boston College Eagles defensive back C.J. Jones (6) looks on at Alumni Stadium. The Eagles defeated the Hokies 34-27. Mandatory Credit: Ed Wolfstein-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies might have a big question at Spring Practice on offense at quarterback but the Hokies due have some offensive strengths and it starts with a talented group of receivers. The only consistent contributor in the passing game that the Hokies lost in the passing game is D.J. Coles who didn’t really make much of an impact anyway for the Hokies last year. Wide Receiver coach Aaron Moorehead did a great job developing his wide receivers in his first year in Blacksburg while Bryan Stinespring was able to focus on developing tight ends and it showed in the quality at the position in 2013.

The Hokies’ strong group of returning receivers starts with Joshua Stanford who ust got better and better as the season went along. Stanford will be the number 1 receiver for the Hokies next season and this is a guy that has the potential to go down as one of the best receivers by the time his collegiate career is done. Stanford is not the most physical receiver but he has a very good mix of size and speed that makes him a big threat to make plays over the middle of the field. Stanford averaged 16 yards per reception which was the best on the team and proves his big play ability. Stanford’s best games came near the end of the season and Stanford is ready to have a big time redshirt sophomore season in the fall.

Nov 16, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies wide receiver Willie Byrn (82) catches a touchdown pass to tie the score in the fourth quarter as Maryland Terrapins defensive back Sean Davis (21) defends. The Terrapins defeated the Hokies 27-24 in overtime at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Willie Byrn will be a senior this fall and this is another one of those walk-on players that comes out of nowhere and makes a big impact for the Hokies. Willie Byrn led the Hokies in receptions last season and his great hands and ability to make catches in big moments has made him a fan favorite. Byrn won’t have many drops and that type of receiver is the type of player that fans and coaches enjoy having on their team. Byrn has deceptive speed that also makes him a serious threat to occasionally have a big play out of the slot. Byrn won’t make too many big plays but he is one of the most reliable receivers in the ACC and is a big reason why the Hokies have a very strong returning group of receivers.

Demitri Knowles might not have had the best season last year but Knowles ended up having what was a solid sophomore season. Knowles showed off some very good speed and has proven himself as a guy who you cant throw a quick screen or slant to and then get quality yards out of. Knowles is not as physical as Stanford but Knowles has decent size to go with his speed that makes him another reliable target. Knowles has big potential and could be the guy that has a huge 2014 season though you can say the same thing about Byrn and Stanford.

Kalvin Cline had a solid freshman season when you look at the stats but Cline looked very impressive when watching him. Kalvin Cline seemed to find ways to get involved in the passing game and make some plays which isn’t easy for a tight end at the collegiate level. Cline has very good size and seems to also have above-average speed which can be a weapon that we’ve occasionally seen. Cline fully committed to football over basketball last season and now, Cline is developing into a tight end that definitely has a NFL future.

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