Tape It Up: Virginia Tech: Wheeler To The Exit

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Virginia Tech: Wheeler To The Exit

After last week's abominable finish against No. 2 Boston College, the Hokies got a bit of a lift on Thursday night, handily defeating Georgia Tech 27-3. What Virginia Tech did not count on was losing tight end Sam Wheeler for the season, which they did on when the redshirt sophomore tore the ACL in his left knee during the game.

Wheeler had started all nine games for the Hokies this season, catching 15 balls for 211 yards and a touchdown for an average of 14.1 yards per catch. He will schedule his surgery once the swelling around the tear reduces far enough to allow it. He is questionable to return for spring practices, but should be back on his feet in time for preseason workouts for his junior year.

The Hokies have now lost two tight ends to season-ending ACL injuries. Against William & Mary on Sept. 22, true freshman Chris Drager tore his ACL, knocking him out for the rest of the season. That leaves the offense with two tight ends to work with, Greg Boone and Andre Smith.

Boone, also a redshirt sophomore, has two starts this season but has seen action in all nine games. He has seven receptions for 90 yards and presents a step up from Wheeler in blocking potential, as his 6-foot-3, 291-pound frame gives him about 25 pounds on Wheeler (6-foot-3, 267). Redshirt freshman Andre Smith, the leanest of the three at 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, has seen time in eight games with no starts, but he has caught five passes for 67 yards.

Barring any further injuries to the tight end corps, the Hokies should be able to finish out the season reasonably well-equipped.

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