Virginia Tech Loses Devon Hunter To Indefinite Suspension

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Virginia Tech, Devon Hunter
Devon Hunter has been indefinitely suspended. (Dave Knachel, Virginia Tech Athletics)

Some more shocking news made its way out of Blacksburg on Monday in the form of a press release announcing that Virginia Tech redshirt junior Devon Hunter has been suspended indefinitely.

Mike Niziolek of the Roanoke Times reported earlier this evening that Hunter was arrested and charged with “strangling another to cause wound or injury and simple assault against a family member” by the Christiansburg Police Department. 

Justin Fuente spoke to the media shortly after the press release was distributed. While he expressed that he was just as surprised as anyone, Fuente refused to comment further on the news.

“Before we begin, I’m sure you all saw the statement we issued on Devon Hunter,” Fuente said. “I understand your reasons for asking, and I hope you understand the reason I can’t reply. We’ll have no further comment on that situation.”

Hunter was expected to fill the void left by Reggie Floyd at the boundary safety position (formerly called rover). In 2019, Hunter played in all 13 games and tallied 16 tackles. The 6-foot, 220-pounder made a career-high eight tackles last year against North Carolina when he started in place of Floyd, who was suspended for the first half due to a targeting penalty.

It’s been a circuitous route for the former four-star prospect. Hunter played in 10 games as a true freshman, mainly on special teams before redshirting as a sophomore after a failed experiment at the whip/nickelback position. With the move back to the more natural boundary safety spot, Hunter appeared poised to finally make a name for himself in 2020.

Through the ups and downs, Fuente and Co. have continually lauded Hunter for the work he’s done behind the scenes. It’s what makes Hunter’s indefinite suspension such a huge blow.

“There’s guys that you just see every day working, trying to lead and do the right thing,” Fuente said during a press conference on August 14. “You just want them to have success so bad. That’s how I feel Devon right now. He’s been a great leader. He’s got a great work ethic, a great attitude. Has really come along to be a guy who people look up to in the locker room. 

“Our kids have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Our coaches have a tremendous amount of respect for him. We can’t wait to get him out there and let him have some success, because he’s just been so great behind the scenes for many years now.”

It’s unclear at the moment whether Hunter will return to the team or if his career in a Virginia Tech uniform is done. As of right now, his bio is still included in the 2020 roster on HokieSports.com.

It leaves the Hokies in a precarious situation with no clear backup behind Hunter. 

“I’m not sure yet,” Fuente said of any potential replacements. “We haven’t been together as a staff yet. We’ve been separate working on game plans and all that sort of stuff. To say that all those things will be fluid is an understatement in terms of continuing to cross train guys and get guys ready. It’s a little early for me to make a call on that right now.”

Nasir Peoples likely would have been a top candidate, but he was injured in a non-contact drill and is out for the season. True freshman Keonta Jenkins has been working at boundary safety. Senior Tyree Rodgers has spent his career at free safetly, while redshirt freshman JR Walker impressed in the 2019 Spring Game at free safety.

“Certainly those are a couple guys,” Fuente said of Rodgers and Walker. “I wouldn’t say [the safety positions are] exactly interchangeable. Keonta had a good fall camp. JR is certainly one that continues to get better as well.”

Walker may provide the most upside at the position. The 6-foot, 217-pound redshirt freshman is a former four-star recruit and chose the Hokies despite a huge offer list. Walker was one of the main standouts in the 2019 Spring Game.

“I’ve always felt that JR, when I first saw him, was an elite athlete,” former defensive coordinator Bud Foster said after the spring game. “He could have gone to a lot of places. I think he’s going to be really special… He’s big, he’s athletic, he’s sudden, he can cover, he can tackle. We put him in a spot at our safety spot that is a pretty important position for us from a run fit standpoint and a coverage standpoint… I think he has a chance to have a great future.”

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27 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Not sure what to think or say about young Devin. Tragic, bad news. But I’m a lot more disappointed at the comments I’ve read here than I am anything involving him. Geez, the fan commentary on this site has become a sewer.

  2. Yeah, this season ain’t gonna happen…every week more will test positive..with or without Hunter…
    This is what turns coaches gray!
    So disappointed in this kid if charges are true 😕

        1. Thanks for the link… and it confirms that the antigen tests that lots of U’s (including most athletic depts) are jumping on are easy to administer with fast results. Unfortunately they’re returning a 50% false negative. The good news is that they don’t return any false positives. 🙂

      1. Absolutely not, that is a ridiculously wrong and false statement.

        The false negative rate may be that high, but false positive rate is in the low single digits.

        If false positive was 40% almost half the country would test positive today.

  3. This is not new. Players do dumb stuff, just like the rest of us. Maybe this will be a wake up call for him to turn things around.
    From a football perspective, Walker is a better player, IMO

  4. We know few details and I’ll wait to hear more before I judge as many here are doing. Are there any scenarios wherein a good person chokes another due to something that person did that may make it ‘acceptable’…what would someone need to do to you or someone close to you to justify it? Would choking ‘action’ be better than beating someone to a pulp if in fact such a beating was justified for defensive reasons…? None of us have details …or do we? If someone threatened another loved one would it be best to ignore it and walk away, punch their lights out, or maybe as strange as it sounds choke with restraint spas not to hurt that person even more…. are there ANY scenarios where this could be acceptable? And if you answer yes or maybe or ‘I don’t know’ then a rush to judgement may be a premature conviction….

    1. Well just read Bitter twitter reports Re courthouse visit and much of my below post may be negated but ‘some’ may still apply BUT seems not to look good for DH … he should have walked away despite it all….but a trial may bring more to the table

        1. Well, my initial post should probably not have been made … yet at the time… didn’t have all the details and seems too much judging for whatever someone says so best for me to just read …. and no, I wasn’t saying that but I think you knew that ….

  5. The lack of anger management skills by many people not just athletes in this country is disgustingly pathetic. Far to often people aren’t held accountable for their poor actions. There is an epidemic of bad behavior that just gets overlooked. If you don’t hold people accountable, it will continue, if not get worse.
    Shame because he had such potential. Everyone deserves their day in court but unless these are false charges, I hope to never see him in a VT uniform again. It would be a disservice to him & every other person in his sphere of influence.

  6. What a dumb butt. There is no excusing this stuff. The fact he is being held without bail makes it seem like this is very serious indeed.

    1. I didn’t see that he was held without bail … just that he hadn’t bailed out, which has more to do with his financial circumstances than the severity of the offense.

  7. Not sure if this happens if We are actually playing some Ball right now. Not sure if I agree with Chico though on the 6-5 Season though, We may be lucky to get in half that-before the CV explodes everywhere. Hunter aint helping.

  8. I don’t know what to think anymore about the team. Maybe all teams have these problems. I guess every individual has a breaking point. I’m going to give Devon a break. Maybe the stress of this strange year did him in.

    1. Certainly possible. Very hopeful it’s not what it sounds like. If he did reach his breaking point, hurting someone (possibly female) can’t happen. Anger management & mental stability are sorely needed by many these days

    2. In what universe does reaching a breaking point mean you can strangle someone!???? Get this idiot OFF the team. Period. I hate these offenses most of all.

  9. What a shame! Sounds like he was working hard and poised for a breakout season this year. I hope he can make amends and get another chance to play for VT. Perhaps at least next year. So unfortunate.

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