Tag Archives: Virginia Tech

Justus Reed 6’3 255 DE-Senior Virginia Tech: ‘Eight-Mile Road?’

Justus Reed (who now wears No. 9 for Virginia Tech) opened up the 2020 campaign with a solid outing against NC State’s veteran-laden offensive line. He was able to split two blockers (RT Justin Witt and RG Joe Sculthorpe) early in the contest versus turn protection to post the first of his two sacks on the evening. In addition, his right-handed pole move (from the LDE spot) long-armed Witt and got him off-balance a couple of times.

On the downside, he was inconsistent once staying frontal versus a gap-schemed run when having to spill the football versus the pulling guard (1st half, NC State ’20). Reed also lost contain on the quarterback during the first half of the contest.

Justus Reed (No. 97 pictured above at the six-technique DE spot vs. Michigan in the 2016 Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl posting a tackle for loss on this play) got off to a huge start for Virginia Tech this past Saturday.

Nevertheless, his five-tackle, two-sack, two-tackle for loss performance versus the Wolfpack all started with a seventh year of eligibility.

Reed initially signed with Florida as the 285th-ranked player in the ESPN300 Class of 2014. The former Clearwater Central Catholic High School (Fla.) star posted two tackles for loss in 2015 for the Gators (see video above). The two tackles for loss in that season were sandwiched in-between a normal redshirt season in 2014 and a medical redshirt in 2016.

Injuries in Gainesville led him to leave the school for Youngstown State, where he was solid in 2017 (5 QB sacks, 6 TFLs) despite missing four games due to an arm injury (https://www.ysusports.com/sports/fball/2018-19/bios/reed_justus_swjx?view=bio). Reed finished his three-year run for the Penguins with 58 tackles, 17.5 quarterback sacks, 25 tackles for losses, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and three pass break-ups.

VTScoop did a piece in April 2020 chronicling the cavernous journey of Reed’s career (https://247sports.com/college/virginia-tech/Article/Justus-Reeds-Perilous-Journey-leads-to-Virginia-Tech-146165755/), which included a medical redshirt for an Achilles injury in 2018.

Reed (who now wears No. 9 at Virginia Tech) played three seasons at both Florida and Youngstown State before arriving in Blacksburg, Virginia.

NFL scouts may be put off by the extensive injury history, but pass rushers find a way to get home. In Reed’s case, getting back on the field was home plate. He broke down his own personal satisfaction after the Penguins win over Illinois State on November 17, 2019:

“Worked really hard this offseason (2019). Shout out to Terry Grossetti (Youngstown State strength and conditioning coach),” Reed said with a smile. “Just came out and did everything I could do. So it feels good.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tb7Geymqq3I)

Now that Reed has gotten this far, the only question is whether or not he will stay on Virginia Tech’s campus for an unprecendented eighth year.

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, this season will not count against any player’s eligibility. Reed became just the fifth player to earn a seventh year of eligibility this century when he opened the 2020 season in the ACC. In 2021, he will have yet another opportunity to take advantage of that rare seventh year next fall.

So could the current Hokie actually add another mile to his seven-mile hike?

For now, the 24-year old is attempting to make another lengthy topic take over the headlines.

“I think I have pretty good length, my arms are pretty long. I can’t remember when, but we had scouts come, and they were freaking out because my arms are so long. I’ve been told I’ve been good with my hands. Converting speed to power using my long arms. Doing whatever I have to do to get back there,” Reed said in the aforementioned VTScoop piece (https://247sports.com/college/virginia-tech/Article/Justus-Reeds-Perilous-Journey-leads-to-Virginia-Tech-146165755/).

If he can continue to get to the quarterback in the ACC, then the former Florida Gator may not have to go down the eight-mile road.

2018 Season Preview: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Season outlook

Brian Kelly has won at least 10 games in four of his eight seasons as the head coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and 2018 has the chance to be the fifth 10-win campaign.  There are reasons for optimism in South Bend because the  Fighting Irish have playmakers on each level of the defense and a returning 12-game starter at quarterback.  Offensively, junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush (6’1, 228) will resume his position as the top signal-caller for the Fighting Irish.  Last season, Wimbush finished with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions.  However, he was sacked 25 times and completed just 48-percent of his passes.  In losses to Georgia, Miami and Stanford, Wimbush combined to throw three touchdowns and four interceptions.  If Wimbush can get in concert with his offensive line and get the ball away sooner, then he -along with his defensive playmakers- have the ability to go far this season.  Defensively, senior linebacker Te’Von Coney and senior defensive tackle Jerry Tillery (6’7, 304) dominate in the run game and on the back end junior cornerback Julian Love (5’11, 194) is emerging as one of the best defensive backs in the nation.  The talent and coaching experience is there in South Bend for a memorable season.

Troy’s player to watch

4 Te’Von Coney 6’1 235 LB-Senior

Coney (No. 4 pictured) registered 17 tackles versus LSU in the 2018 Citrus Bowl.

Coney fits the mold of a sideline-to-sideline inside linebacker and his skills are reminiscent of the Jaguars’ Telvin Smith.  Coney also has enough strength to absorb contact with running backs and drive them backwards.  Last year, the senior linebacker finished with 116 tackles, three quarterback sacks and11.5 tackles for losses.  If he can sharpen his skills in pass coverage, he has all the makings to be a potential Day 2 NFL prospect.

Game of the season 

September 1st against Michigan
The season opener will set the tone for the Fighting Irish.  Michigan hasn’t played Notre Dame since 2014 and in that game, the Wolverines, lost 31-0. Notre Dame and Michigan both have College Football Playoff aspirations and a week one victory in South Bend would be a big boost to either team.

DraftNasty’s Prospect Watch

53 Sam Mustipher 6’2 306 OC-Senior
Mustipher has been a contributor since 2015 and a starter the last two seasons for an impressive offensive line.  His ‘nasty’ in sending messages to defensive linemen stands out on film.  He can sink his frame in both pass protection and as a run blocker.  Aside from

Mustipher (No. 53 pictured) will perform as a graduate student in 2018.

getting to his spot on angle blocks, his quickness aids him effectively on combination blocks.  For him to improve his draft stock, Mustipher needs to improve his latch-and-sustain.  His size -while adequate- has gotten him into trouble versus leverage players at the point of attack in short yardage (Phillips, Stanford ’17).   Over the course of the last three years, he has rounded himself into much better shape than he was earlier in his career.

Prediction: 11-1

Notre Dame has the potential to run the table like they did during the 2012 season. Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish will finish with its lone loss coming against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, according to DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson.

2018 Season Preview: Old Dominion Monarchs

Season outlook 

The Monarchs are looking for a bounce-back season after finishing 2017 5-7 overall and 3-5 in the C-USA.  Old Dominion will lean on their running game in 2018.  Senior center Nick Clarke (6’4, 315) has started 34 games in the past three seasons and is on the Rimington Trophy watch list to begin the season.  Clarke will spearhead the rushing attack for senior Jeremy Cox (6’0, 235). Cox ran for 621 yards last season and caught 20 passes for 176 yards. On the outside, senior wide receiver Jonathan Duhart (6’3, 209) missed all but two games last season with a broken foot but in 2016 had 735 receiving yards. The defensive is also senior-laden and has steadily improved each year under defensive coordinator Rich Nagy, who enters his fifth season at the helm. On special teams, return man Isaiah Harper (5’9, 170) is a guy to keep your eye on. Harper was last year’s C-USA Player of the Year and finished 10th in FBS in kickoff return average at 29.1 yards per return. Old Dominion was marred by injuries and youth in 2017,  but if they can get lucky injury-wise, look for the Monarchs to become bowl eligible.

Troy’s player to watch

7 Oshane Ximines 6’3 247 OLB-STUD-Senior
Ximines, a senior defensive end, has improved his sack totals every season.  Last season, he set a Monarch school record with 8.5 sacks and will enter this season as one of the best pass rushers in Conference USA.  Ximines is second among active FBS players with 21 sacks.  If he can continue to produce at his gaudy pace, he could very well get an opportunity to play on Sundays in 2019.

Game of the season

October 6th at Florida Atlantic
Despite a home tilt against Virginia Tech on the schedule, a road game against Florida Atlantic will have stronger conference implications.  FAU is the coaches pick to win the conference.  Old Dominion enjoyed one of its best seasons in team history in 2016, behind a sensational record in the conference (10-3 overall, 7-1 C-USA).  If Old Dominion wants to establish itself as a conference power, a win against FAU in Boca Raton would go a long way.  The Owls defeated ODU 58-28 in Norfolk.

DraftNasty’s Prospect Watch

9 Jonathan Duhart 6’3 221 WR-Senior

For Duhart, it all comes down to his health.  Much of his productivity throughout his career (19 career TD receptions) has been aided by his physicality.  On top of that, he’s a big-time leaper capable of timing jump balls consistently in either the open field or Red Zone.  Despite the fact that he’s not a speed-burner, Duhart has been effective boxing out defenders in short areas with quickness and bulk.  In addition, he’s also been satisfactory working in the slot.  In 2017, he appeared in just two games after breaking the fifth metatarsal in his left foot.  If he can regain his pre-injury form, look for Duhart to use his strength to ward off a number of the cornerbacks Conference USA has to offer week-to-week.  If so, NFL scouts will take notice.

Prediction: 8-4

According to Draftnasty’s Troy Jefferson, Old Dominion will become bowl-eligible in 2018.  The Monarchs will lose home contests versus Virginia Tech, Marshall and North Texas.  They also will get upended on the road at Western Kentucky