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Hokies have big shoes to fill at running back position

Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech(Virginia Tech)
Published: Aug. 21, 2021 at 11:13 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Khalil Herbert only played one season for the Hokies, but he made it a memorable one.

The transfer from Kansas rushed for 1,183 yards, and averaged 7.7 yards per carry.

He was the first Virginia Tech running back since 2015 to rush for over 1,000 yards, and was named Third Team All-ACC at the RB position.

But Herbert is now in the NFL, after getting selected in the sixth-round by the Chicago Bears.

Redshirt junior Jalen Holston is expected to take the lead role this year, and he has a plan.

“Just telling myself to stay hungry,” says Holston. “Stay consistent. Just being able to see what Khalil has done, see the path that he’s taken, and that inspired me, just knowing that I can do this too. So just being able to stay consistent and healthy.”

VA Tech RB coach Adam Lechtenberg says, “Jalen is one of those guys who sits in the front row, takes notes, works his tail off. That type of dude. Smart. This offseason he worked on his mobility, and he’s leaner. I think he’s feeling as good as he’s felt, since he’s been here.”

The Hokies are expecting the entire running back group to contribute this season, including Raheem Blackshear, who is in his second season, after transferring from Rutgers.

Blackshear says, “I feel like a lot is different. I got a year under my belt now. I got more familiar with the plays. I’m more comfortable with the offense. Just taking extra notes, and the film study, it was helping me out.”

Holston adds, “Our running back room is a group of guys who are a bit mix-and-match. Anyone of us could play in a game right now. All of us bring a different skill set to the table. All of us are pushing each other, as competition, and the only way to get better is to play with it.”

Virginia Tech is scheduled to kickoff the season on September 3rd at home against 10th ranked North Carolina.

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