Offseason spotlight: Virginia Tech

Our offseason spotlight series resumes today with Virginia Tech. A reminder: This series features individual players, position groups and coaches who really need to have big offseasons — starting this spring.

Spotlight: Running backs

2011 summary: Heading into the season, the Hokies had to replace two standout running backs who left school early for the NFL in Ryan Williams and Darren Evans. It didn’t take long for the program’s next star to emerge. The Hokies were led by ACC Player of the Year David Wilson, who was No. 8 in the country in rushing with 122.07 yards per game. He finished the season with 1,709 yards and nine rushing touchdowns. He and backup Josh Oglesby carried the nation’s No. 28 rushing offense. Wilson was held without a rushing touchdown and under 100 yards in two of the games that mattered most, though — the ACC championship loss to Clemson and the Sugar Bowl loss to Michigan.

The skinny: Wilson’s decision to leave early for the NFL wasn’t a surprise, but it was a big hit to the position group’s depth and experience. True freshman J.C. Coleman, an early enrollee, and redshirt freshman Michael Holmes will be the top two options this spring after Tony Gregory had surgery on his knee. Gregory was the No. 3 running back on the depth chart and would have been a top candidate for the No. 1 spot. The staff really likes Holmes, though, and has recruited well at the position. Three more true freshmen will join the team in the fall, and there are a few walk-ons, but the truth is, this is a wide open competition that begins this spring with Coleman and Holmes in the lead.