BLACKSBURG — Former Virginia Tech staff identified Da’Wain Lofton as a player to watch as soon as he entered campus as a freshman last year.
The Hokies have a whole new coaching staff, but the buzz around Lofton continues to grow.
“Lofton has stood out, with offensive coaches and defensive coaches,” Virginia Tech coach Brent Pry said Wednesday.
Tech’s receiving corps is going through a near-complete rebuild this season following the departures of Tre Turner (NFL) and Tayvion Robinson (transfer). The two have combined for 45% of the team’s offensive production in the passing game over the past three seasons.
The Hokies’ returning receivers have a total of 48 catches to their name, and veteran receiver Kaleb Smith has made 37.
That leaves the door wide open for Lofton, who showed some flashes last year as a true freshman at Northside High School in Fort Worth, Texas. He had seven catches for 98 yards, including three for over 25 yards.
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New Tech wide receivers coach Fontel Mines praised Lofton on Wednesday.
“I think he’s going to give us a lot up front,” Mines said. “I can move it. He doesn’t flinch. I think it can run the route tree. He catches the ball very well. »
Lofton certainly has the speed to cause game problems for opposing defenses as someone who ran a 4.4 40-yard dash in high school, but his skill is only part of the reason why. it makes waves.
“Lofton is probably the most confident kid I have in the room,” Mines said. “And I think for him, that’s just who he is. It’s who he is as a person, it’s who he is as a player. He is confident in his abilities. »
According to Mines, Lofton is also going the extra mile by training early and leaving late and putting in as much extra work as possible to get comfortable with the new offense and quarterbacks.
“Just a super coachable kid with a bright future,” Mines said.
The competition at receiver this spring narrowed down a bit this week with Jaden Payoute suffering a medical disqualification. The former four-star prospect missed the 2020 season with an ankle injury that ended up requiring two more surgeries. He caught just one pass in his career – a 42-yard pass in the Pinstripe Bowl – before hanging up his cleats.
Payoute’s departure left Tech with 10 scholarship recipients on the roster this spring with one freshman expected to enroll this summer (Xayvion Bradshaw).
Lofton with Temple transfer Jadan Blue and North Carolina transfer Stephen Gosnell look set to join Smith on both depths while the rest of the depth chart is still in flux.