The Hokies had priorities of adding depth to the defense and keeping top-notch high school talent in-state. They accomplish both with Tyjuan Garbutt.
If there is one distinguishing quality of the high school game of 4-star athlete Tyjuan Garbutt, it is his versatility.
The 6’2″ 215 lbs. Garbutt played both wide receiver and defensive end at Riverbend High School in Fredericksburg, Virginia, but projects to the latter at the collegiate level for the Hokies.
Garbutt terrorizes opposing offensive tackles on film, displaying good footwork, burst, and speed off the edge. Additionally, Garbutt shows a strong ability to get off of initial blocks and make plays in the running game, allowing him to finish plays in the backfield about as well as anyone in the class.
In pass defense, Garbutt is remarkably gifted as well. Channeling his ability that is shown on offense as a receiver, Garbutt can retreat off of the line of scrimmage and cover receivers in the passing game, which is not seen out of many defensive end prospects.
Garbutt is recognized as one of the top recruits in the Hokies 2017 class, and could become a rotational player right away for the team, and a sure-fire starter down the line. With the departure of Ken Ekanem to graduation, the Hokies are left with returning starters Vinny Mihota on one side of the line, with rising sophomore Trevon Hill likely to be inserted on the other.
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For Garbutt, that likely means that more of a rotational role will be in the cards, at least initially, as a freshman. One thing of obvious note though, is that the two projected starters at defensive end in Mihota and Hill are no stranger to injuries. Mihota has dealt with shoulder injuries throughout much of his first two seasons with the Hokies, while Hill battled ankle and knee issues during his freshman season with the team.
In fact, Hill will likely miss the spring after undergoing off-season knee surgery, opening the door to the possibility that he may not be 100% healthy when Garbutt gets to Blacksburg this summer. Regardless of whether or not Garbutt can ultimately seize the starting defensive end position from Hill heading into fall camp, a spot in the rotation is definitely not out of the cards this coming fall.
Garbutt’s commitment to the Hokies only further solidified the Hokies’ hold on the Commonwealth of Virginia, a pendulum which swung back in the team’s direction following the commitment of top in-state prospect, safety Devon Hunter, on January 20th. If Hunter and Garbutt can team up in their respective positions in Bud Foster’s defense for years to come, it will only further be used as a recruiting tool in the state of Virginia for future classes moving forward.
Winning on the field next season and winning in-state on the recruiting trail in the coming years: both priorities, and both accomplished with the commitment of Tyjuan Garbutt.