Oct 16, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies offensive lineman Jonathan McLaughlin (71) blocks at the line of scrimmage against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 21-16. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The offensive line for the Virginia Tech Hokies has had a very bad season with the bright spots being at guard with Wyatt Teller’s emergence at left guard and the decent but not great play of Augie Conte at right guard. One player who has had his fair share of struggles is Jonathan McLaughlin who has had a major sophomore slump.
However, a lot of that may have been due to a left ankle injury which made his status for the Duke game in question. Today, Frank Beamer announced some big news on McLaughlin with it being later confirmed by Virginia Tech officially.
First and foremost, we hope that McLaughlin has a speedy and full recovery from this injury and surgery.
This injury will end a rough season for McLaughlin though this left ankle injury may have been a major reason for his struggles as a sophomore. The Hokies will now start Wade Hansen at right tackle who moved to the offensive line this fall. Hansen is an unknown at offensive tackle and we’ll have to see how good he can be. This is Hansen’s opportunity to prove if he should be considered for a starting spot next season.
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For McLaughlin, having surgery now means he will likely be ready for Spring Practice though the Hokies should be careful not to rush him back too quickly. Whenever McLaughlin comes back, he will definitely enter a battle for a starting offensive tackle job with a strong group of players including 4-star offensive tackle Austin Clark who has the skills and potential to be the left tackle next fall.
Is McLaughlin going to be able to earn a starting job next season? We will just have to see how he recovers from this injury.