Virginia Tech finished its 2017 season with a 9-4 mark, but went 5-3 in the ACC as it wasn’t able to keep pace in the Coastal Division standings. The Hokies were primarily hurt by regular-season losses to Miami and Clemson, but a slip-up at Georgia Tech spoiled any outside chance of catching up to the Hurricanes.
As the 2018 season draws closer, the Hokies will look to deal with the departure of several offensive players. The biggest loss of all, though, is the graduation of leading wide receiver Cam Phillips — whose senior campaign ended with a spot on the all-ACC first team.
Phillips’ absence will be felt, but that will naturally provide a great opportunity for other players on the roster. Wide receiver won’t be the only position to keep an eye on, though. With that, here are three players on the Virginia Tech offense who could enjoy breakout seasons in 2018:
Hokies quarterback Josh Jackson gave Virginia Tech fans high hopes for the future with a strong freshman showing last season. One of his favorite targets in 2018 should be fellow sophomore Sean Savoy.
Savoy may not have been the most heavily recruited player in the 2017 class, but he was given the opportunity to play immediately. The decision paid off as he made 39 catches for 454 yards and 4 touchdowns, second to Phillips in all three categories. He also added 2 rushing touchdowns.
While Savoy had a quiet end to his season, his offensive potential was clearly evident. The Washington, D.C., product is certainly a player to watch over the next few years.
Chris Cunningham had a quiet year as the starting tight end in 2017. Cunningham made only 9 catches for 175 yards, scoring a touchdown in the final game of the regular season against Virginia.
With Phillips gone, though, don’t be surprised to see Cunningham’s role open up in 2018. After being told by a Miami coach as a high school recruit that he was undersized and would never play in the ACC, his goal is to prove his doubters wrong each time he steps on the field. He’ll get a great chance to continue to do so this season.
After primarily playing on special teams as a freshman and at fullback in 2016, Steven Peoples made the move to running back before the 2017 season, where he scored 2 touchdowns and gained 267 yards on 70 carries.
But with Travon McMillian’s transfer to Colorado after graduating from Virginia Tech in December, Peoples has a chance to step into the spotlight and push both Deshawn McClease — the team’s leading rusher in 2017 — and Jalen Holston in the offseason.
The Hokies ranked seventh in the ACC in rushing yards per game last season, but Peoples could be one of the players who can help them develop a stronger running attack.