Virginia Tech down another cornerback

When Virginia Tech opens the season against Alabama, the Hokies will be facing a Heisman contender in quarterback AJ McCarron and a preseason All-American in receiver Amari Cooper.

With true freshmen playing in the secondary.

Not exactly an ideal scenario, but one the Hokies have a few weeks left for which to prepare. First came news that starter Antone Exum is not fully recovered from a knee injury he sustained in January. Now, Donaldven Manning has decided to transfer, leaving the Hokies with true freshmen Brandon Facyson and Kendall Fuller to man the cornerback spot opposite Kyle Fuller.

To their credit, both Facyson and Fuller have drawn high praise from their coaches since they arrived on campus and would have most likely played in the opener, anyway. Facyson was a spring star after enrolling early; Kendall Fuller was the highest-rated player the Hokies signed in February.

Defensive coordinator Bud Foster told reporters in Blacksburg, Va., during media day this weekend: "Really, I think we’ve got two outstanding prospects with Brandon Facyson and Kendall Fuller. I’ve really been pleased with Kendall’s just football IQ, his body positioning. Just a very instinctive, solid technique-wise, beside the fact he has tremendous ability."

But playing as a backup is completely different from relying on freshmen to take the majority of the snaps at that cornerback spot. Especially when you consider how solid Kyle Fuller is on the other side. Kyle Fuller -- Kendall's older brother -- has been starting since he was a true freshman, so you have to believe Alabama will go after the two young cornerbacks.

Foster says there are ways the Hokies can scheme their plans to help Kendall Fuller and Facyson out. But it could be a long night for the Hokies' youngsters.