Last season, the Virginia Tech Hokies football program returned to relevance with a 10-4 campaign and ACC Championship berth under first year head coach Justin Fuente.
The improved play on the field last season that saw the Hokies go from flying under the radar, to smack dab in the middle of the ACC, has now caught the attention of the media heading into the 2017-18 campaign.
The Hokies have been recognized as part of the preseason top 25 rankings from Athlon Sports’ Season Preview Magazine.
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The Hokies came in at number 25 overall, joining four other ACC teams in the No. 23 Miami Hurricanes, the No. 18 Louisville Cardinals, and the No. 7 Clemson Tigers, and the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles.
The Hokies square off against two of those teams in the regular season, as they welcome Clemson to Lane Stadium on September 30th, and travel on the road to play Miami on November 4th.
As far as a win projection is concerned, VT is projected by the writers at Athlon to go 9-3 overall, with a 5-3 record in the ACC. In addition, they had this to say about the Hokies heading into the fall:
"“After an appearance in the ACC Championship Game and a 10-win 2016 season, coach Justin Fuente will once again have the Hokies in the mix to win the Coastal Division. The second-year coach is regarded for his work on offense, especially at the quarterback position.Fuente will be tested once again this season, as Jerod Evans left early for the NFL, and standout receiver Isaiah Ford and tight end Bucky Hodges are also at the next level. Redshirt freshman Josh Jackson closed spring ball with an edge at quarterback, with junior college recruit A.J. Bush and true freshman Hendon Hookier fighting for snaps.The battle will resume in the fall, but the Hokies have to find playmakers around receiver Cam Phillips, along with generating more production from the ground game. A defense that returns seven starters should be among the best in the ACC. Cornerback Greg Stroman and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds should challenge for All-America honors on a unit that allowed only 22.8 points per game last year.The opener against West Virginia at FedEx Field should give some early insight into the quarterback situation. However, it’s likely Virginia Tech’s hopes of another division title rest with the Nov. 4 trip to Miami.”"
This is the first college football magazine to release projections for the 2017-18 season, but the expectations are already set quite high for the Hokies, who will look to improve on the traction they made in 2016.