VT entrancce

Virginia Tech is back in session today, with the spring term starting.

Here are a few roster notes:

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1. All the expected early enrollees are here and in school.

That list is 10 players long this year. They are: defensive end Eli Adams, defensive backs DJ Crossen and Jermaine Waller, offensive lineman Christian Darrisaw, defensive tackle Joe Kane, long snapper Oscar Shadley, running back Caleb Steward, athlete Alan Tisdale and receivers Tre Turner and Kaleb Smith.

That's the most mid-year enrollees Virginia Tech has had, following the trend in college football these days. Nine players enrolled in the spring semester last year. Three -- AJ BushOscar Bradburn and Dalton Keene -- ended up playing last fall, though receiver Caleb Farley would have if he didn't get injured.

2. Adonis Alexander and Yosuah Nijman sound like they are back.

The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft was Jan. 15. Tim Settle, Tremaine Edmunds and Terrell Edmunds did so, ending their Virginia Tech careers. The official list given to NFL teams doesn't come out until Jan. 19.

Since neither made public declarations either way, I inquired about Alexander and Nijman, two juniors last year who at some point had some NFL buzz if only for their physical skills, even though their 2017 seasons didn't go as planned, with Alexander serving a two-game suspension and Nijman injured for the final five games.

From all indications, both are back for next season -- the response I got from a spokesman was that he didn't hear anything to the contrary -- which is a boost to a Virginia Tech roster that's lost six underclassmen to the draft in the last two years.

Nijman could be one of three seniors on Tech's starting o-line next year, provided Kyle Chung's request for a sixth year of eligibility is approved.

Alexander is a boost to a cornerback group that lost seniors Greg Stroman and Brandon Facyson. He and junior college transfer Jeremy Webb, near clones of each other at 6-foot-3 and somewhere between 190 and 200 pounds, could make for an interesting cornerback duo among a group of competitors for playing time.

3. Tavante Beckett won't be back.

The linebacker, who was suspended indefinitely in September after being charged with possession of marijuana and conspiracy to sell/distribute marijuana, will not be back with the Virginia Tech football team.

Beckett was suspended from school in the fall by a student conduct committee, but he got a resolution to his legal issue in December, with the felony conspiracy charge dropped to possession, a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to do 100 hours of community service and will have the two possession charges dropped after 12 months if he complies with all the court's orders.

But he won't be back on the Hokies football team. It sounds like the coaching staff is helping him find a school to transfer to in order to continue his playing career. Beckett himself retweeted former Indian River High teammate Jaquan Yulee, who is at Marshall, suggesting a reunion could be in the works.

Beckett's departure means the top five inside linebackers on the roster from the start of last year will be gone in 2018 -- Andrew Motuapuaka, Tremaine Edmunds, Sean Huelskamp, Anthony Shegog and Beckett.

Rising sophomores Dylan Rivers and Rayshard Ashby, redshirt freshmen Rico Kearney and Jaylen Griffin and Tisdale should all get plenty of reps come spring.

4. There's no other roster news right now.

Things are always fluid, so there might be more comings and goings in the future, but there's nothing else to report right now.

5. Virginia Tech sure could use Clemson's luck in retaining underclassmen.

With Christian Wilkins announcing he's coming back, the Tigers' entire defensive line return. Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant decided to stay earlier this month and Dexter Lawrence was only a true sophomore last year.

I think the media's pick to win the league at the ACC Kickoff this summer will be anticlimactic. Clemson will be prohibitive favorites to win its fourth straight ACC championship and fifth since 2011.

Contact Andy Bitter at andy.bitter@roanoke.com or 381-1676. Follow him on Twitter: @AndyBitterVT.


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