Virginia Tech received some bad news today on the offensive side of the ball. They found out that starting wide receiver D.J. Coles will be out for the rest of the season with a left knee injury. He suffered the injury during the first quarter of Monday’s game against Georgia Tech. Coles was supposed to be a big part of the Hokies offense this season, so where do they go from here?
First, it is important to note that while Coles is a senior, he may still have another year of eligibility granted to him by the NCAA. He can — and all indications are that he will — apply for a medical hardship waiver, so there is a good possibility that he hasn’t played his final game in maroon and orange.
While the future may still be bright for Coles, his loss is really going to hurt the Virginia Tech offense in 2012. Last season Coles had 36 receptions for 480 yards and three touchdowns. Coles was going to be the second option receiver behind Marcus Davis, but now that responsibility will be passed to either Dyrell Roberts or Corey Fuller.
Roberts is in his fifth season with Virginia Tech, and during that time he has made some memorable plays, including the winning TD catch against Nebraska, but he has also been injury prone. He has missed the majority of the last two seasons with serious injuries.
Fuller is more of a wildcard. He is the brother of former Hokie Vincent, present Hokie Kyle and future Hokie Kendall. However, he is the only one of them that didn’t choose football as his top sport. Corey Fuller originally went to Kansas as a sprinter but later transferred to Virginia Tech and joined the football team.
In my opinion, Fuller was the most impressive offensive player for the Hokies on Monday night. Fuller caught five passes for 82 yards, including two huge catches on the final drive that eventually sent the game to overtime. Fuller may be a track star, but like his brothers he also seems to have an uncanny ability to get his hands on the football.
Roberts and Fuller will try to fill the hole left by Coles this season, but it won’t be easy. Over the past three seasons in Blacksburg, Coles has gone unnoticed by a quite a few. He was behind the two most prolific receivers in VT history (Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale), the injury prone highlight reel (Roberts) and the potential superstar trying to make good on that promise (Davis), but in 2012 fans will see just how important he actually is to the offense.