Per Andy Bitter, Virginia Tech will be without two players for the Belk Bowl: defensive end Vinny Mihota and running back Shai McKenzie. Both players were seen in Charlotte with their arm in a sling on Monday.
McKenzie has not played since the Syracuse game, and he was unlikely to play in the Belk Bowl even if healthy. With his recent string of tweets against the coaching staff, it’s actually somewhat surprising that he even made the trip to Charlotte at all.
Mihota had his arm knocked out of socket in Tech’s Thursday night win against Miami. He returned to that game in the second half, but it was obvious that he played in pain over the final few weeks of the season. He was particularly banged up in the ACC Championship Game when he batted down a pass with his injured arm and stayed on the ground for several minutes.
With Mihota out, redshirt freshman Trevon Hill is expected to start at defensive end. Hill isn’t healthy either, and Bud Foster said it’s possible that he’ll have to have shoulder surgery as soon as the season ends.
Here’s a rundown of the game-ready defensive ends that the Hokies will have available for the Belk Bowl…
Ken Ekanem (r-Sr.)
Trevon Hill (r-Fr.)
Seth Dooley (r-Jr.)
Houshun Gaines (r-Fr.)
As noted earlier, Hill isn’t 100%, and Ken Ekanem probably isn’t either. True freshman Jimmie Taylor is taking a medical redshirt, while redshirt freshman Darius Fullwood moved inside to defensive tackle during the season.