Oct 5, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas (3) tacked the snap as offensive linesman Caleb Farris (79) and Jonathan McLaughlin (71) block in the second quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Entering the 2013 college football season, previous OL coach Jeff Grimes was entering his first and only season in Blacksburg and started the revamp of the Virginia Tech offensive line. The Hokies made a lot of progress in the fall but Grimes took some chances on younger players and the Hokies will be thanking him the long run for a couple of his decisions. Now, OL coach Stacy Searels has the chance to take this one player to the next level as this sophomore has huge potential after a very good freshman season.
Virginia Tech fans were probably expecting an experienced veteran to start at left tackle this past fall but it instead went to a freshman, Jonathan McLaughlin. This move had many Virginia Tech fans concerned but also confident that Grimes knew something that the rest of Hokie Nation didn’t know about McLaughlin. Virginia Tech fans would end up being pleasantly surprised with the performance of McLaughlin in what a very strong freshman season.
Jonathan McLaughlin would end up starting all 13 games for the Hokies and had to go against all sorts of talented players from facing Alabama at the beginning of the season to facing UCLA’s Anthony Barr and Myles Jack. These experiences tested McLaughlin and he did show some signs in these gmaes of the fact that he was an inexperienced freshman. However, the time that McLaughlin spent learing as a freshman will be very beneficial over the rest of his career and for the Hokies this fall and beyond.
Jonathan McLaughlin would have some strong performances when the Hokies needed and was a big reason why the Hokies’ offensive line wasn’t as bad in some games as expected. McLaughlin didn’t miss a single snap in two games in 2013 and also played at least 55 snaps in every single game this past fall. The biggest honor for McLaughlin was how he was placed on the Freshman All-American Second Team by Sporting News which is a very impressive honor for the first freshman starter at left tackle under Frank Beamer.
Now, Jonathan McLaughlin is one of the rocks of the Virginia Tech offensive line entering his second season and expectations are only going to go up for him. McLaughlin definitely has shown that he has the talent to be a NFL player and he could fairly high in the NFL Draft in the future as he continues to develop. McLaughlin has a chance to go down as one of the best offensive lineman to ever play at Lane Stadium and he could eventually be up their in a group with the greatest Hokies’ offensive linemen including former All-American Hokies’ center Jake Grove.
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