Virginia Tech Football: Looking at Who Replaces David Wilson at RB

Ryan McCartCorrespondent IIIMay 13, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 03:  David Wilson #4 of the Virginia Tech Hokies runs the ball against the Michigan Wolverines during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 3, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Virginia Tech’s offense has some big questions coming into the 2012 season. The Hokies are replacing four of five starting offensive linemen from last season and also replacing two of the greatest receivers in the program’s history. Still, the question at the forefront of every fan’s mind is, how does one replace David Wilson?

How can Frank Beamer replace 1,700 rushing yards? The simple answer is, you can’t; otherwise, that number wouldn’t represent the best rushing season a tailback has had in Virginia Tech history. You can’t replace Wilson (an All-American). The same could be said of his two predecessors, Ryan Williams and Darren Evans, but there is a difference now.

All three of the names mentioned were highly-touted recruits coming out of high school. They were all known commodities, and possibly more importantly, they were running behind an experienced offensive line. David Wilson’s replacement(s) don’t have that same edge.

The Wilson replacements are Michael Holmes, J.C. Coleman and Drew Harris. Two of the three possible replacements for Wilson were highly-rated recruits (Coleman and Harris) but both are true freshmen. All evidence points to Holmes being the starter in 2012.

Holmes was a 2-star recruit coming out of high school. He had one impressive 80-yard touchdown run in the spring scrimmages; that was it. He didn’t have an impressive spring, but a lot of that can be attributed to an offensive line that was being dominated by Bud Foster’s defense. He currently is the most experienced and rounded back that the Hokies have.

Holmes wasn’t the only tailback to have a lackluster spring. Coleman enrolled early in order to participate in spring practice. Coleman has explosive speed and elusiveness, but he is small. He can be a big-play threat, but for the play to get started, he has to get some help from the offensive line. He didn’t get that help in the spring.

Drew Harris was the only back that didn’t participate in spring practice as an incoming freshman. Harris is the back that I’m most excited about. He has size, power and decent speed. Harris appears to be a version of Darren Evans. We still aren’t sure as to when we will be able to see Harris on the field (he could possibly redshirt).

The only thing that is for sure in regards to Michael Holmes, Drew Harris and J.C. Coleman is that they have massive shoes to fill. The Hokies running game won’t be its biggest strength this season, it doesn’t have to be, but it does need to do a serviceable job to take some pressure off of quarterback Logan Thomas.