2016 season: 10-4, 6-2 in the ACC (1st in the Coastal Division)
Head coach: Justin Fuente (2nd season)
Every fall in Blacksburg, the Sandman returns to Lane Stadium. And after Justin Fuente's first season with the Hokies went about as well as anyone could have asked, Virginia Tech fans will be looking for even more.
But the first major issue for the Hokies is the task of replacing last year's starting quarterback, Jerod Evans. Redshirt freshman Josh Jackson was named the starter in mid-August and certainly has the credentials to take over—he was a four-star recruit out of Ann Arbor, Mich., and ESPN ranked him as the 185th-best overall player in the Class of 2016. Plus, his multidimensional ability as both a runner and passer should help him acclimate quickly in a deep ACC Coastal Division.
Although Virginia Tech will not face particularly tough competition in nonconference play, it does open the season against No. 22 West Virginia at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., and later on, the Hokies will host fifth-ranked Clemson.
Virginia Tech does have continuity, however, with senior wideout Cam Phillips and redshirt junior running back Travon McMillian. Phillips was preseason first-team All-ACC alongside junior linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. If the Hokies can build on last year's success under Fuente, they have a legitimate shot at once again winning the Coastal potentially play for a spot in one of this year's New Year's Six bowl games.
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A junior from just outside Philadelphia, Mitchell is probably reminding you how the Eagles won the Super Bowl this year and that the Phillies are definitely on the rebound. Outside of The Chronicle, he majors in Economics, minors in Statistics and is working toward the PJMS certificate, in addition to playing trombone in the Duke University Marching Band. And if you're getting him a sandwich with beef and cheese outside the state of Pennsylvania, you best not call it a "Philly cheesesteak."