Who will be the most important to getting the Justin Fuente era off to a good start? As we've done the previous three seasons at our previous home, we've counted down the players we believed were most important to Virginia Tech's success. And this season is no different, as we've compiled the top 16 for 2016.
Each of our staff members compiled a list of who they believed were the 16 most important players for the Hokies this season. Each player then earned a score based on where each staff member ranked them (16 points for a first place vote, 15 points for second place, 14 points for third place, etc.) and the points were added up for a true staff ranking. Tiebreakers included most higher votes and most overall votes.
For each of the next 16 days, we'll reveal each of our top players. Be sure to chime in on our message board with your thoughts and who you think should be the most important players this season.
No. 6 Sam Rogers
Jason Stamm, Publisher
We mentioned senior defensive end Ken Ekanem the other day as one of the unofficial spokesmen of the team. Ekanem is consistently one of the players chosen to speak to the media because of his play and coach-speak interviews.
But the one guy who’s arguably even more a spokesman and has endeared himself a bit more to coach Justin Fuente, it’s Rogers. He might be listed as a fullback, but Rogers has proven to be so much more.
On the field, Rogers can be used in pass protection, as a lead blocker and even on short routes and screens. Off the field, he’s noted constantly for his work ethic and how he carries himself around his teammates. Even Sunday at Virginia Tech’s recruiting camp, there was Rogers, on the sideline, sizing up campers like a coach and offering some advice.
With Fuente’s new spread offense, it’s unclear just how Rogers will fit in. With the need to head towards five-receiver sets, how exactly will Rogers be used? As a result, Rogers might be the last true fullback the Hokies have for some time. But regardless of how he’s used, you can be assured Rogers will have a presence.
Max Esterhuizen, Editor
Rogers has an impact on that team that goes far beyond the football field. Rogers’ work ethic and motivation rub off on those around him. He’s been an excellent role model for both younger and experienced members of the program and his presence will be missed once he graduates following the 2016 season.
But while he’s still in Blacksburg, he can have a major impact on the field as well. Last year, he showed effectiveness in catching, rushing, and blocking. He had 193 yards receiving on the season and 260 yards rushing. His rushing numbers may not be that high, but he is a short-yardage specialist, so the where those yards come is more important than it just being a high number. Look for him to continue to do whatever the Hokies need – he’s done that his whole career in Blacksburg.
Kelly Porazzo, Staff Writer
The announcement of head coach Frank Beamer’s retirement last fall appeared to especially hit home with Rogers. I chose Rogers on my list not only for his improved football skill, but also for the character and personality he brings to the team.
Rogers, over the past few seasons, appeared to grow vocally as a leader. He is the prime example of hard work paying off. Rogers rushed for a total of 260 yards, averaging at 12.1 yards per carry, showing great improvement from previous years. Younger members of the team can truly look up to him as an impactful leader and determined player. I believe he will carry on Beamer’s thoughts and ideas to the new team.
Delaney Hall, Staff Writer
Yet another leader for the Hokies. Going into his senior year, Rogers logged 656 plays; 127 on special teams and 529 on offense with 61 carries for 260 yards and two touchdowns.
Rogers, a player known for his leadership and dirty work, is essential to the Hokies’ success. His focus during play and ability to think quickly makes him a candidate to look out for during this new season of Hokie football.