When Virginia Tech opens spring practice next week, the Hokies will do so with many of their key starters on the sideline.
Defensive coordinator Bud Foster said Tuesday that he expects cornerbacks Kendall Fuller (wrist) and Brandon Facyson (leg), along with defensive linemen Corey Marshall (ankle), Luther Maddy (knee) and Ken Ekanem (shoulder) to be held out this spring. Fuller, Facyson, Maddy and Ekanem are all recovering from surgery and were not expected to fully participate; Marshall has been hobbled with an ankle injury.
"Corey Marshall -- we’ll just play that one by ear but I really think we’re probably looking at holding him out and just getting those guys healthy and ready to attack this thing in the summer and have a great summer offseason strength program," Foster said.
"We have a chance to be pretty good, if we stay healthy. We return a good number of people who played a significant role last season so when we can create a little bit of depth to spell some people, particularly up front, that’s when we’ve been able to play at a high level. That’s one thing I’m hoping we can do."
Facyson and Maddy missed most of last season with injuries, but had medical hardship waivers approved and are expected to be ready for fall camp. Foster said Facyson is doing really well right now but is not ready to play.
"We need to get him back healthy. If he can go back and play like he did his freshman year, we’re getting a dynamic player back," Foster said.
Fuller -- the team's best cornerback -- played through a wrist injury last season and had surgery in January. Ekanem, who had a team-high 9.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss last year, will be ready for the summer.
On offense, running back Marshawn Williams (knee) and center Kyle Chung (shoulder) are also out. Running back Shai McKenzie, rehabbing a knee injury, has been suspended indefinitely after he was arrested earlier this month.