Eric Kumah and Chris Cunningham To Transfer From Virginia Tech

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Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech’s Eric Kumah and fellow senior Chris Cunningham are leaving the program. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

Two rising seniors for Virginia Tech’s football program announced their transfer via Twitter on Tuesday night.  Wide receiver Eric Kumah and tight end Chris Cunningham will leave the program.

Kumah started all 12 games in which he played this past season, catching 42 passes for 559 yards and seven touchdowns.  He became known for his ability to catch jump balls in tight coverage, as well as for his ability to block in the running game.

Cunningham lost playing time to Dalton Keene this year, but was still a major contributor to the offense.  He caught 22 career passes for 297 yards and seven touchdowns.  He was regarded as Virginia Tech’s most consistent blocking tight end.

With the departures of Kumah and Cunningham, Virginia Tech is currently projected to have just six scholarship seniors on the roster for 2019 – quarterback Ryan Willis, defensive end Houshun Gaines, defensive tackle Xavier Burke, offensive lineman Tyrell Smith, rover Reggie Floyd and cornerback Jovonn Quillen.  Gaines and Burke are coming off major injuries, while Smith and Quillen are projected to be backups. 

Both players will be graduate transfers and will be eligible to play elsewhere immediately.

Also revealed in Kumah’s Tweet was information that wide receivers coach Holmon Wiggins will be departing the program as well.  Recent reports have linked Wiggins with the offensive coordinator job at Temple and the wide receivers coach position at Alabama.  No formal announcement regarding Wiggins has been made by any of the schools in question.

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61 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Many thoughts on this, but undoubtedly, times are a-changing. I really disliked what free-agency did to the NFL, or the changes that came along with it (cause-and-effect are awful hard to separate there). And this sorta-kinda looks like free-agency in the making for NCAA football. I used to say that I loved the college game more than the NFL simply because of the team-first concept: Once a Hokie, Always a Hokie. In the NFL, the player you love this year could very well be your nemesis next year. That makes it difficult and confusing to identify with a particular team brand. So we invented Fantasy Football to replace it I guess. Outside of your franchise players, most everyone on your “team” is a question mark in terms of being there for the long haul. I’d hate to see college football infected with all that me-first mentality.

    That being said… I agree with points made by others that this is merely a way for students (who are NOT professionals) to open up options and continue to play while “pursuing academic interests elsewhere”. And as we have seen, it is quite often players who are being passed up on the depth chart who take advantage of it (for now). Not sure what this means for coaches in their attempts to create honest competition for starting roles – that could get dicey. But consider this: if these two gentlemen were unlikely to get much playing time in their senior year or were not projected as starters, can we blame them if they’ve already graduated and want to move on? Shouldn’t we be grateful that two more scholarships have opened up for pursuing new recruits? (help me out – does it even work that way?)

    1. You could argue this is an efficient market in economic terms. When the 4 star recruit learns that he is being passed on the depth chart at Alabama, that talent might move to where it gets used.

      On a lighter note, I wonder if there might be some 2-3 recruit long displacement chains, that is, player A transfers to University B which upsets the depth chart, causing one of their QBs to transfer which…. You could argue that has sorta happened with Willis, He transfers which put pressure on the VT depth chart with the recent result that JJ has read the tea leaves and is transferring, maybe that will cause another QB scramble wherever he goes.

  2. I’m only looking one week into the future regarding VT Football, when Coach Wiggins is scheduled to speak next Wednesday at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse, sponsored by the NOVA Hokie Club, and I’m not even sure if he’ll be in our program then!

  3. i guess we know what topic this Friday’s or next’s Q&A will be covered.

    ______ ______ _______

    ncaa has created “the beginning of” the college equivalent of nfl free-agency – without above the table money. and endorsed and accelerated it by creating a on-line portal to advertise yourself (aka: no agents yet allowed, so we’ll help you out of your commitment.)

    even if they have completed their course-work and graduated, the university athletic department and staff have invested quite a bit of $$$, time, and assistance to only get a three-year return on four years (or more not counting recruiting and redshirt year) worth of investment.

    the system has been tweaked so many times for profit and favoritism purposes, the corpse of college football is almost unrecognizable.

    this ain’t evolution, folks. time marches on; but not always beneficially.

    Go Hokies! hang in there

  4. Well, I’d feel better for depth reasons if we inherit a graduate transfer from another top school for each of their respective positions!! And it does hurt losing their leadership! I’m with some of the others on this one. Doesn’t pass the smell test! Way too many leaving the program. So say Tre goes down early this coming season. Wouldn’t you like to have Kumah around then?

  5. I can see Cunningham heading out of Dodge for a better opportunity to play, but Kumah? I don’t get it. Are our current freshmen (rising redshirt freshmen and rising sophomores) and incoming guys that good that Kumah thought he was headed for the bench?

  6. I am going to be honest and many of you may say it is an “old school” way of thinking. We live in a time where people, not just kids, jump at the first sign of adversity or pain of any kind. A commitment to play ball for a University that spends Thousands of dollars to feed you and put you on the field in multiple uniforms ( we had 2 when I played) and that Markets you for the NFL is easily broken. Much is being driven by the parents who ALL believe their kid will play in the NFL although the stats show that only 1.75% of all college players will have that opportunity. I am soooo Thankfull that our soldiers who fought and continue to fight for our freedoms keep their commitment and didn’t run away from the fight. There would be no NFL or USA If there were no STAND UP men and women. I pray for future generations. These core values are slowing being eliminated in our families and I believe its the parents responsibility to do that. My kids knew that if they started something, they were going to finish it. If they chose not to participate the next season that was fine but you finish what you committed to.
    There is no school or program that is going to give Kumah a better opportunity. I promise you that. Go Hokies!

    1. I agree with you, including the core values and reference to service people of a great country. But I do look at graduate transfers as a rule for students who have completed their service. Its an additional opportunity for them to find a better place than the great placed they started. A reward for a job well done. Sad to see these players leave but there are VT Alumni. Go Hokies!

    2. Maybe I’m the only one, but the comparison between soldiers and College athletes seems apples and oranges. When you enlist in the military it is not at all the same thing as committing to a college. For one, you don’t get to back out. Not legally anyway. We should probably be thankful there’s a law on that. That all may be STAND UP men and women, but I’m unconvinced that as a whole they’re that much different than their cohorts who commit to play college athletics or who choose to pay their way as a regular student. They get a bad boss, it’s not what they thought, they mature and the world looks different, etc. and they want a change.
      “first sign of adversity or pain of any kind”? After three years? I’ve got to imagine big time college football has more than its fair share of pain and adversity every year. Who are we to begrudge an athlete looking for a change of pace? I think it’s ridiculous that in most cases athletes have to wait a year in the first place.
      I guess I’m in the camp that believes this notion of Service doesn’t apply to a college sport that’s bringing in $55M a year with 85 scholarships. You get a year of school for a year of football. Seems fair enough. why does the adult have to sign up up for more time. You can bet that if the transfer rules didn’t exist, the school wouldn’t stop signing folks for one year at a time.

    3. No one complains when coaches jump ship or CEO’s jump companies…. Cannot apply this to athletes only. In the case of college coaching, many leaves instantly if the opportunity presents itself. How many college coaches leave for what they feel are better jobs a minute after the last game has been played??? These guys do not even hang around to coach their teams if their teams are playing in a bowl, smh….

  7. Here we go again in 2019 – Looking a lot like 2018 with attrition, Both at the coaching and player level.

    This program has stability issues.

    One of the major problems with the 2018 team was a lack of team leadership. Having 5th year seniors leave is a problem.

    1. Coaching wise I see it as a good thing. We have coaches being sought by other programs which is high compliments to them and Coach Fu’s budding coaching tree. We/VT just aren’t accustomed to. What is normal elsewhere because Coach Beamer, Foster and assistants never left. They weren’t really sought for openings either.

      1. Bud accepted the Pitt job years ago before reconsidering and staying in Blacksburg. CFB was offered NFL jobs and at least the UNC job but chose to stay.

        Continuity used to be a given: Thanks also to Coach Hite, Coach Cav, Coach Wiles, and Coach Stinespring for staying for all those championships.

  8. With this new rule VT will win some and lose some. So far we are losing players so will any come into our program? Personally I do not like the new rule allowing transfers and more of this is to come with players leaving the program. I hope the NCAA evaluates this over a period of time after seeing the impact on college football. Good for the athlete but not so for the team or the fans.

  9. Eleven Penn State players are transferring. Seven announced in the last week. This is the new norm in college and all the players except one who have left this year have lost playing time or a starting job. The sky is not falling.

  10. No problems in the program. Eleven Penn State players are transferring – seven announced in the last week. Kids want playing time and every transfer from Tech except one lost playing time or a starting position. The sky is not falling.

  11. I’d be curious about how much attrition other schools are seeing with the new “portal”. Perhaps this is the new normal.

    If this is the wave of the future, then the philosophy of redshirting as many players as possible should be thrown out the window. Your investment is likely to be in some other team’s future, possibly one with whom you will have to compete against.

    This wave is also likely to benefit “player’s coaches” to the detriment of tough-love, highly principled coaches.

  12. I remember a time when VT football players worked harder in practice and the weight room when things got tougher or competition at their position heated up and didn’t just give up or transfer or quit. The team comes first, always.

  13. OMG! The sky is NOT falling folks. What if the private conversations with the coaches went something like this: Look, kid, you have a couple of options now. You have your degree, which is a great accomplishment in itself. You are a respected member of this team and you have our support if you want to stay (though you may not start and may see your PT go down). However, if you decide it is in your best interest to go to another school where you are guaranteed to be a starter, and possibly also get an advanced degree, then we will completely support and respect you for that decision.

    The decisions of a few 18-22 year old kids should not make us curl up in a ball, suck our thumb, and think the world is falling apart around us. Take a breath and let things play out. None of this is in our control, anyway.

  14. Beyond losing these two significant contributors to the program, I kind of hate what this new transfer portal concept means regarding team continuity in general – hard to feel the same sentiment for players on the team when you know any of them may be gone the next year to a different school. More to the point, maybe, hard to have a team with depth when anyone who’s not the top player at their position is probably looking to go somewhere where they can be the top player. All that said, I haven’t seen anybody mention the other side of the coin: I hope that this transfer portal can be made to work in both directions – maybe there are some candidates to fill some of our depth and experience holes at other positions, if our staff can find a way to get them wanting to come here and start…

  15. For goodness sakes, take a breath. In the older days, a non-starting senior just played out the senior year, got his degree, and went on with life. With most players staying in Blacksburg for the summers to work out, they are taking classes and getting credits. Add to that the bringing in of credits for college courses taken in high school and son of a gun, a degree appears in 3 years. So if you aren’t going to get the playing time you want for possibly your last hurrah, the current rules are right up your alley. With football players, in almost every situation, it’s all about playing time, first, last , and always. Don’t know what Kumah didn’t like, or saw in his future in Blacksburg, but obviously he sees greener grass elsewhere. Not everyone has the loyalty to the teammates, program, and school in this widely ‘It’s about me” generation. Sadly Kevin Cosner’s question to Shoeless Joe seems to be asked a lot these days, “I want to know…. what’s in it for me?”

  16. Losing Kumah is bad. He was a major contributor last year and our best WR for contested balls.

    Leaking the news about Wiggins may have been intentional. This has not been reported anywhere else.

    Cunningham also was going to play and contribute next year, so his loss also will be felt.

    I would not call losing two senior leaders “healthy attrition”.

  17. Whoa … before we burn Coach Fu in effigy, let’s reflect a bit. Seniors don’t like being backups. They will be able to see more time on the field somewhere else. More scholarships are available now!

  18. I’m not sure what to think about this. Is it just a sign of the times and to expect more and more players jumping around, or something deeper in the program?

  19. Best of luck to those guys.

    TE were set & Iutside WR also has quite a bit of depth. Need Pattersen to step up now and play to his physical capability. As for this impact it’s the 3rd down coversion that Kumah made and sealing the edge for Cunningham, both both can be replaced with the talent we have on this team. Loss of Senior leadership hurts as well but as young as this team is it’s time for a few R-Soph & Jr to step forward.

    Sun will rise tomorrow over Blacksburg.
    Let’s Go…Hokies!!!
    Beat BC!

  20. These guys knew they were going to be backups not starters. Kumah will be missed; Cunningham not so much. I think the overreaction re: Fuente is ludicrous… this is clearly two guys trying to end their careers as starters. Neither will play professionally and they know it. They have graduated from a great school and just want to move on with getting their lives started. Not much different when us old guys moved on to a new job after somebody gave us our start right out of school. It is their life and they get to manage it.

  21. True this could be another sign of long term trouble (and I do love Kumah) but in the other hand, Cunningham was already a backup and Kumah arguable would be one next year with the emergence of Tre Turner. WR depth is still a team strength next year. Also, perhaps we will see Zohn Burden move back to his previous position as WR coach and bring in someone new to coach the RBs?

    1. Oh and also, In the past when our coaches left they went to lower tier schools not Alabama and the like

  22. I’m starting to wonder now if a lot of us have been whistling past the graveyard to some extent. Something is clearly off.

    1. Nah…just another part of attrition. We’ll be alright. Hate to see these two fine athletes go; but it frees up two more scholarships. Best of luck to both of them. Kumah will certainly play for an NFL team. He’s Just trying to raise his draft stock…no hard feelings. Good luck to both

      1. Kumah will probably be an undrafted free agent, will get a shot, but not certainly play for an NFL team.

  23. Yeah, there’s something up. Why would two major contributors leave? I wonder if Justin “Not My Boy” Fuente is ruining the culture that Coach Beamer fostered.

    1. Major contributors?? Cunningham was projectef 3 on depth chart and Kumah was looking to get jumped was word I heard Don’t blame them

      1. Combined 14 TD catches, which is nearly half of all TD catches in 2018. So it’s not exactly like they were chopped suey.

        1. We’ll be fine. Lots of talent waiting for their chance. Trust in Fuente! Lots of good recruits waiting in the pipeline…it’s gonna be ok.

        2. 9 TD (of 29 total team rec TDs) catches last yr between them. I think you were looking at their career numbers.

        3. Cunningham’s stats listed above are his career stats… he caught 2 TD last season, Kumah caught 7.. that’s 9 of 29 receiving TD’s

          I hate seeing 5th year seniors leave – those guys are normally the glue of the team. This is ripple effects of the coaching transition combined with easier transfer opportunities.

    2. Exactly. Nowwwww……more and more of us are starting to maybe smell what’s actually cooking. You’ve seen the Beamer, Bowden, Saban, Dabo, Paterno model. Trust your instincts. There have been some bright spots with the coming of Coach JF but the familyhood environment and wholesome team chemistry has to be off somewhere. Backup or not these kids were good and are NEEDED but neither have faith that their best interests are in good hands at Tech and they are not willing to endure who or whatever it is that is broken. These defections and dismissals are not coincidences. I hope I’m proven wrong but Don’t be surprised if more are to follow. Perhaps a Defensive Coordinator or Line Coach or two stepping away for reasons unknown will finally wake up the non-believers.

      1. LOL. Beamer’s name does not belong within a country mile of the likes of Dabo and Saban, or even Bowden, for that matter.

    3. What’s up is that two major contributors were looking at being passed in the depth chart and therefore becoming less major. As graduates they can transfer without sitting out a year. They have the option of going somewhere where they can start and once again be a major contributor. Some players will make that choice, Rather than becoming a backup. Happens all the time with every team.

  24. My patience is wearing thin with Fuente and the direction of the program. If we are not markedly better next year, I want Fuente gone.

    1. your screen name says it all. I am amazed at how little awareness have of the reality that is college football. This is NOT a sign that the program is falling apart, it is the fact that the players now have OPTIONS, that were not part of the landscape in the past. Get used to it, and OBTW that transfers thing…..goes BOTH ways, take a look at our own roster over the past few years and ask yourself where we might have been in not for the transfer rules……ie Ryan Willis, Michael Brewer, etc,

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