Virginia Tech Football: Who Is Replacing Every Hokie Taken in 2014 NFL Draft
The Virginia Tech Hokies were a pretty popular team during the 2014 NFL draft, but now Frank Beamer and company are left contemplating who will fill the shoes of their departing stars.
The Hokies had three players selected in the draft and six others sign afterward as undrafted free agents.
Each leaves a gaping hole to fill.
Fans might have been excited to watch Kyle Fuller get taken by the Chicago Bears with the 14th overall pick, or for Logan Thomas to join the Arizona Cardinals and Antone Exum head for the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth and sixth rounds, respectively, but the Hokies will sorely miss each of their abilities.
Read on to find out exactly which players are slated to replace each NFL-bound star.
Brandon Facyson for Antone Exum
While the Hokies will miss Exum’s locker-room presence and playmaking abilities, the team is essentially already used to the cornerback’s absence.
He was excellent when he got on the field in 2011 and 2012, but he played in just three games last season while recovering from his torn ACL.
That gave Brandon Facyson plenty of time to learn how to step into his teammate's shoes.
He spent most of the past year holding down the fort for Exum at the field corner position, and he blew everyone away with his five interceptions and 27 tackles.
Facyson started in nine games and played in 12, so he’ll be no stranger to taking on an increased role.
The only concern for the Hokies has to be his growing trouble with injuries.
He missed the team’s loss to Duke with a concussion and spent all of spring practice sidelined with a leg injury.
However, Facyson seems very well suited overall to step into the starting lineup full time next season.
Kendall Fuller for Kyle Fuller
The Fuller family has been very good to Virginia Tech over the years, as the team has featured all four siblings on the football team at one point or another.
The legacy will continue this fall when Kendall steps in for Kyle at the boundary corner slot.
Kendall got plenty of preparation to replace his older brother in 2013 when he started 12 of the team’s games, playing mainly nickel corner but also covering Kyle’s spot when the elder Fuller wasn’t fully healthy.
Kendall responded to the opportunity in a big way, grabbing six interceptions and making 58 tackles over the course of the season.
While the elevation of Fuller and Facyson to starting roles means that the Hokies now have to think about the depth behind them in a way they didn’t last year, the coaches have to feel comfortable about each player continuing the legacy of impressive Hokie defensive backs.
A Wide-Open Battle to Replace Logan Thomas
While the coaches might have no trouble when it comes to replacing the departing cornerbacks, the battle to replace Thomas isn’t so simple.
Since Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer had yet to join the team for spring practice, it’s hard to read much into the spring drills.
Redshirt sophomore Brenden Motley leapfrogged redshirt senior Mark Leal by flashing a good command of the offense and some running ability, but he hardly seized the starting spot.
Neither passer truly pulled away in the team’s spring game, but Motley looked just a shade more competent running Scot Loeffler’s offense.
That means that when Brewer and freshman Chris Durkin arrive on campus in the fall, Motley will likely get the bulk of the reps of the team’s veterans, but Loeffler will be looking intently at the new arrivals.
As of this moment, it seems as if the team is faced with the choice between Motley’s athleticism and experience versus Brewer’s accuracy and familiarity with complex schemes.
It’s truly anyone’s guess as to who replaces Thomas in 2014.