Hokies Punt Return Standout Tucker Holloway Questionable For Season; Lemar Law Takes Medical Hardship

Third-team All-ACC punt returner Tucker Holloway is questionable for the season with a knee injury, Brent Pry said Tuesday. (Ivan Morozov)

After suffering a right knee injury in the spring, Virginia Tech junior wide receiver and punt returner Tucker Holloway is questionable for the season, Hokies head coach Brent Pry said Tuesday during an offseason check-in with local reporters.

Holloway had his right knee in a sleeve late during spring drills and did not participate in the spring game. A third-year junior, he has a redshirt available to him, which could factor into how much he pushes to get back this season.

“He’ll be questionable for the season,” Pry said. “And I say that because of the injury and I say that because he has a redshirt available, which he and I have already discussed, and we [will] kind of just let things play out and see what direction we go.”

Though he was still working to break into the mix as a pass-catcher, Holloway was a third-team All-ACC punt returner in 2023 after finishing eighth nationally with a 12.9-yard average on 20 attempts, with a long of 66 yards and four total returns that went longer than 20 yards.

He burst on the scene late in 2022 as a freshman by setting the program’s single-game punt return yardage record with 188 yards on seven returns, including a 90-yarder for a touchdown, against Georgia Tech. Much debate was had about whether or not he should burn his redshirt against Liberty late in the year. He played, his fifth game of the year to burn the shirt, though that ended up making it available to him now. (Tech actually petitioned the NCAA unsuccessfully to get that year back after its UVa finale was canceled.)

The Hokies should be fairly set at wideout still, with the quartet of Ali Jennings, Da’Quan Felton, Jaylin Lane and Stephen Gosnell all returning, plus the spring emergence of younger players, headlined by Ayden Greene.

Jaylin Lane ranked fourth nationally in punt returns three years ago and should step into Tucker Holloway’s spot. (Jon Fleming)

At punt returner, Tech’s fortunate to have Lane, who ranked fourth nationally in punt return average (14.5 yards) with Middle Tennessee in 2021. Lane was credited with five returns for 31 yards last season in spot duty, though he had a touchdown at Boston College wiped out for a penalty.

Greene is another player who could return punts, having added it to his repertoire near the end of spring.

“He’s kind of just accelerating in a lot of areas, and it wasn’t a surprise to me when you put him back there on return and by the end of spring, you’re going, ‘OK, this guy’s got a chance to be a damn good one too,’’ Pry said of Greene. “But J-Lane’s proven at it.”

Pry also said freshman defensive tackle Andrew Hanchuk is likely to miss the season. He suffered a leg injury that required a giant brace and was on crutches at the spring game.

“He may have had an opportunity to work into some late work in the season potentially,” Pry said, “but more than likely a redshirt candidate.”

Meanwhile, Lemar Law is medically retiring. He’s a redshirt sophomore who joined Gunner Givens in moving from defensive line to offensive line in the spring. He’ll be around the team in a student-coach capacity like safety Nyke Johnson, who took a medical hardship in the winter.

Tech’s currently at the scholarship limit of 85 after the Law news, with Alabama defensive tackle transfer Khurtiss Perry and Miami linebacker/safety Kaleb Spencer filling the final two scholarship spots. (Kicker Kyle Lowe has been on scholarship since before last season, Pry confirmed.) Everyone is enrolled except quarterback transfer Collin Schlee, who’s still finishing up classes at UCLA, which is on the quarter system and does not wrap up until June 14. 

Despite a scary-looking leg injury in the spring game, defensive end C.J. McCray is close to a full return. (Jon Fleming)

The news was better for defensive end C.J. McCray, who Pry said is OK after going down during the spring game with what appeared to be a serious leg injury. He was on crutches afterward and was carted back to the locker room.

Pry said the senior edge rusher is not 100 percent quite yet but is only a few weeks from it.

“He’s a genetic freak,” Pry said. “This guy takes care of his body and he’s strong, he’s healthy. Very conscientious of his body. And he’s tough. So I would think mid-summer he’ll be back full tilt.”

The news was positive for a handful of guys who missed the spring or were limited because of injuries. Linebacker Keli Lawson and Jalen Stroman are full go. Pry said tight end Nick Gallo “looks great” while both the Gosnell brothers look good, adding that Stephen, a wideout who went down with a non-contact knee injury in the Military Bowl, is “shockingly well ahead of schedule.”

20 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. More good-to-great news than not! Let’s have a healthy summer and pre-season! 🙏

  2. Do you think it is likely that we’ve seen the last of Tucker Holloway as a VT football player?

      1. Not a strange question at all. These days, season-ending injuries and redshirts give ome guys wandering eyes. Wouldn’t surprise me one bit if it turns out his Tech days ate over.

        1. That’s certainly possible. But Holloway was one of the chief recruiters for Belfort. I doubt you do that if you are looking to leave.

    1. Taking a red shirt might actually be a blessing in disguise for him. Loaded WR room this year, but four of them leave after this season (Jennings, Lane, Felton, S. Gosnell). He would have two years remaining, and can take time rehabbing the leg. The only question – Is he patient enough?

      1. Patient enough? Well he can’t go anywhere and is hurt this year and it’d be kind of silly not to come back with all the WR experience we will lose after 2024. Seems it’d be a dumb move to go anywhere else!?

        1. Yeah seems to me he has a path to being in the two deep in 2025 as well as returning to being the punt returner, but we have several other highly touted young WRs as well so nothing is going to be easy.

      1. Unless you have followed college football. . It is very tough to miss a year late in your career and come back if you are not going pro. Not sure Tucker is going pro.

        Aside, I feel like CC – Tucker was one of my favorite players!

    2. With the emergence of Greene and the freshmen coming in, I would tend to think that Holloway is looking at options other than VT. He is good enough to play somewhere, sadly, not here though. As a competitor I would think he goes.

      1. There are four seniors who are leaving after this year. Opportunities abound in the WR spots going forward. And he’ll have his punt return job back.

        1. We will see – I thought one of the reasons he was so anxious to play more than four games as a freshman was because he was in a hurry to get somewhere else. Maybe age, experience, and injury will cool his jets a bit, but if the Hokies don’t start winning important games I suspect he will be on the Pedulla-train to a “bigger” program. You actually talk to these guys, what is his vibe in-person?

    3. I think it becomes far more likely that he stays, actually. If he redshirts, he’ll end up being the most senior WR in the room for his final 2 years with a bunch of talented younger players around him. Seems like a good opportunity to get more playing time at VT after many of the current starters graduate.

  3. Lots of good news

    Glad a quality young man like Law can coach and work with the team

  4. 56 does look like a freak! What a pleasure to have him on our team!

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