PLAYERS TO WATCH
Tayvion Robinson and Tré Turner posted almost identical numbers a year ago. Robinson led the squad with 38 catches for 592 yards with three touchdowns while Turner was right behind him with 34 receptions for 529 yards and three scores.
Robinson averaged 15.6 yards per catch in 2020 and boasted an even higher 17.7-yard average when Braxton Burmeister was at quarterback. Robinson had a big day in the season finale vs. Virginia, coming up with five catches for 98 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown.
Turner owns a pair of 100-yard receiving games in his career and also has four rushing scores. His 94 career receptions leave him a scant six catches shy of joining Tech’s 100-catch club.
OTHERS IN THE MIX
Kaleb Smith could be poised to be a big contributor for Tech in 2021 after an injury-shortened 2020 campaign. He has managed 17 catches for 209 yards with two touchdowns in his first two campaigns with the Hokies.
Also, keep an eye on redshirt freshman Jaden Payoute who missed all of 2020 after fracturing his ankle in the preseason. The Chesterfield, Va., native is a former four-star recruit and was the state 100-meter champion at L.C. Bird High School.
The trio of Robinson, Smith, and Turner made up 96.6% of the receiving yards from the wide receivers during the 2020 season.
Robinson hauled in the longest reception in 2020, his 60-yard touchdown catch from Burmeister vs. Virginia.
Turner was the only wide receiver to have a multi-touchdown game in 2020, with his two scoring grabs at Pitt.
While Robinson and Turner tied for receiving touchdowns in 2020 with three, Turner led all wideouts in total touchdowns adding in his two rushing scores.
The trio of Turner, Robinson, and Smith gives the Hokies a solid complement of pass catchers with starting experience. The wild card for the Hokies could be Payoute. After missing the 2020 campaign, the athletic and speedy Payoute could be a difference maker.
There should be plenty of opportunities for freshmen Da’Wain Lofton and Dallan Wright to get lots of work during preseason camp after getting fully indoctrinated into the offense this spring. Villanova transfer Changa Hodge was coming on strong at the end of the 2020 campaign but unfortunately will miss the 2021 season after suffering a knee injury in the spring. Hodge’s absence opens the door for a number of other players to step up this fall.