College athletes have been given much more freedom within the past year. There have been many players who have decided to take a second chance in their careers by entering the NCAA Transfer Portal. The Hokies have benefitted from players looking to finish their collegiate careers.
The Hokies have also been on the other players leaving the program in search of a potential earlier football career. On Monday, July 12th, defensive ends Alec Bryant and Robert Wooten enrolled in the NCAA Transfer Portal.
Bryant ranked as the 17th ranked weakside defensive end and the 47th ranked prospect from Texas in the 2020 class. Bryant saw played in one game for the Hokies this past season in the regular-season finale 33-15 win over the Virginia Cavaliers. Wooten ranked as the 27th best weakside defensive end and 75th best player from Texas in the 2020 class. Wooten played in all 11 games for the Hokies this past season as he accounted for three total tackles. Both players are dynamic playmakers and highly athletic and aggressive to make constant plays in the backfield.
Bryant and Wooten are two of the latest Hokies to enter the Transfer Portal that signed with Virginia Tech in the 2020 Recruiting Class. On May 6th, wide receiver Tyree Saunders entered into the Transfer Portal. He later enrolled at East Carolina University on May 21st. On May 21st, defensive end Justin Beadles entered the transfer portal before enrolling at the University of Houston. All four of these players were the top-ranked prospects from the Hokies 2020 Recruiting Class.
This raises a level of concern for the Hokies and their future as they now lose four of their most valuable prospects from the 2020 Recruiting Class. Even though cornerback Dorian Strong has been the most impactful player signed from the 2020 class, there was potential for all four players, including Bryant and Wooten to be contributors for the Hokies.
Recruiting has not been the strongest focus for head coach Justin Fuente in his time with Virginia Tech. The Hokies needed to be more aggressive in the recruiting field, but now they are in a difficult situation as they couldn’t keep their top four signees from the 2020 class. The questions concerning Fuente’s effectiveness as a recruiter and developer of players continue to grow.
The defensive line for the Hokies is loaded with weakside defensive Amare Barno and defensive tackle Jordan Williams entering their junior season. Bryant and Wooten were looking to be impactful players for the Hokies early in their collegiate careers. They will look to be impact players while the NCAA Transfer Portal is still hot. The Hokies, meanwhile, will develop the young players that currently remain on the team and compete for an ACC Conference title.