In the game against Middle Tennessee State, Mitchell went down with a knee injury that head coach Justin Fuente announced on Monday will need surgery. It was tough news to hear as there was optimism that Mitchell was taken out of the game as more of a precaution and not a season-ending injury. The injury will end the junior’s season just two games into the 2021 schedule.
So far this season, Mitchell has had five catches for 42 yards and a touchdown through two games. Last season, Mitchell was impressive with 26 catches for 435 yards and four touchdowns.
The Hokies can replace Mitchell as a tight end, but they can’t replace the impact he brings on-and-off the field. He was by far the most versatile guy on the offensive side of the ball. His loss will be a massive blow to the for the remainder of the season.
The good news is though that the Hokies have capable backups that have been around the team for a while who can step in and be ready to fill in at the tight end position.
Deluliis is a 6’5 redshirt junior from Charlotte, North Carolina, who in high school , was utilized in the passing and rushing game similar to how this Virginia Tech team was using Mitchell.
He’s seen action in 29 games, so far, during his Virginia Tech football career being utilized as more of a blocking tight end. Deluliis caught an 11-yard reception against Middle Tennessee State. He’ll get a lot of playing time against West Virginia both as a target and a blocker.
Gallo is a 6’4 sophomore out of Pennsylvania that has qualities similar to that of former Hokie and current New England Patriots tight end Dalton Keene. He’ll probably get the most looks in terms of receiving as the season goes on. In 2020, he played in eleven games totaling 11 receptions, 83 yards, and a touchdown.
Both Gallo and Deluliis will see a lot of playing time as the season goes on as they are forced to come up big for this offense. Mitchell will still be around the team, in terms of leadership and helping these guys.
The injury to James Mitchell is a massive blow for this offense, but having veterans step up is a bright spot to sad news.