An already unproven group of Virginia Tech wide receivers took a major hit Thursday with the news that senior D.J. Coles is out for the season with a knee injury.
The Hokies went into the season without their top two receivers from a year ago in Danny Coale and Jarrett Boykin, so you can bet there is an even greater sense of urgency for somebody to step up with Coles now out of the mix, too. Marcus Davis and Dyrell Roberts are the first two names that come to mind, given their experience in the offense.
Davis and Roberts took the most snaps against the Yellow Jackets among all receivers -- but Roberts only had two catches for 5 yards; Davis had six catches for 82 yards. Davis did hurt his shoulder in the game but should be available Saturday against Austin Peay. Those two players are the more known commodities.
But there are two other players to keep an eye on after their performances against the Yellow Jackets.
Redshirt freshman Demitri Knowles had a beautiful 42-yard touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone -- and it just so happened to be the first reception of his entire career. He only saw three snaps at receiver but that should change moving forward.
Then you have Corey Fuller, who had the hands down best night among all receivers, and graded out the highest among all players at his position. Fuller set career highs in receptions (five) and yards (82), and had a critical 23-yard reception on fourth down late in the game that allowed the Hokies to send the game into overtime. He also recovered a fumble by Davis that preserved a drive in which Virginia Tech eventually scored a touchdown.
Fuller transferred to Virginia Tech in 2010 from Kansas to join his brother, cornerback Kyle Fuller. Corey Fuller actually starred on the Kansas track and field team, competing as a sprinter, triple jumper and long jumper. But he decided to focus on football with the Hokies and has really done a nice job transforming himself into a receiver, playing the flanker spot that Coles also plays.
Last year, Fuller only played in six games. But that is sure to change after his performance Monday night.
"He's really developing into a football guy," coach Frank Beamer said Wednesday on the ACC coaches call. "I think he's got great speed, but he's playing the game the way it needs to be played. Had a pro scout ask about him the other day. I'm really proud of the way he's come along. Looks like to me he's going to have a bright future."