Our Virginia Tech Football fall camp position previews continue today as we finish the offensive side of the ball with a look at the interior offensive line. Check out our look at the interior of Virginia Tech’s offensive line plus the rest of our fall camp position previews to date.
Projected Depth Chart at Left Guard Entering Fall Camp
- Kaden Moore
- Danijel Miletic
- Brody Meadows
- Johnny Jordan
- Nikolai Bujnowski
- Johnny Dickson
- Jesse Hanson
- Jack Hollifield
- Braelin Moore OR Hunter McClain
Virginia Tech’s Other NFL OL Prospect: Kaden Moore
Most were surprised when they saw that true freshman Kaden Moore was poised to start at guard last season, but it didn’t take long for that surprise to become a realization that Moore was another big time offensive line talent for the Hokies.
Now with Lecitus Smith graduated and off to the NFL, Kaden Moore will slide over to left guard with the sophomore set to have plenty of NFL scouts watching him as they begin to prep some preliminary draft boards for the 2024 class, the earliest that he would be eligible for the draft.
Moore was impressive as a freshman starting all 13 games at right guard while doing so at a high level on his way to earning All-American honors from The Athletic. On an offensive line with loads of talent and experience, Moore was able to fit right in and be a productive part of it.
Now, Moore is one of the faces of a revamped Virginia Tech offensive line with three new starters and Moore being the third most experienced starter after only Johnny Jordan who was a multi-year starter at Maryland, and Silas Dzansi who has been an on and off starter for years.
He also should benefit from adding the lessons of Vance Vice who produced three NFL Draft picks the past two seasons with Joe Rudolph who is one of the best offensive line coaches in America.
Kaden Moore will likely be in the NFL in just a couple of years, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s an All-ACC player this season.
Two New Starters With Very Different Paths To This Point
Virginia Tech will have a pair of new starters with very different paths to this point along their offensive line in Johnny Jordan at center and Jesse Hanson at right guard.
Jordan arrived in Blacksburg as a grad transfer from Maryland in 2021 after being a multi-year starting center for the Terps earning All-Big 10 Honorable Mention honors in 2020. He seemed in line to start at right guard before the emergence of Kaden Moore pushed Jordan to swing offensive lineman duties on the interior.
Now with Brock Hoffman graduated and off to the NFL, Jordan gets to move back to his natural spot at center after receiving an extra year of eligibility that was unexpected prior to the announcement. His return felt like a big transfer addition for the Hokies given how big of an issue center would have been for Tech if he didn’t receive an extra year of eligibility if they didn’t add a talented transfer.
Jordan should also be a valuable veteran leader along with Silas Dzansi for what is an extremely young offensive line group otherwise.
Meanwhile, Jesse Hanson has been at Virginia Tech since 2019 yet is only a redshirt sophomore thanks in part to the free COVID year from the 2020 season. He’s worked his way up the depth chart from playing sparingly early in his career to becoming a backup last season.
Some thought that Tech might end up bringing in a transfer offensive lineman whether a tackle or guard which would likely have pushed Hanson to be the top backup. Although Tech pursued a couple players, Joe Rudolph didn’t look to just take anyone which seemed to be a statement of great confidence in the potential that Hanson shows.
Now, Hanson will most likely get his chance becoming the first starter out of a Lord Botetourt HS linemen factory that has also produced 2022 signees Gunner Givens (DT) and Hunter Mclain (OG) with three-star OT DJ Toliver being a top 2024 OL. target.
Tech has a pair of new starters in Johnny Jordan and Jesse Hanson, and although they likely won’t replicate the same level of play as Lecitus Smith and Brock Hoffman, both should be quality starters for the Hokies especially the veteran Jordan.
More Offensive Line Depth Questions
The interior offensive line isn’t different from offensive tackle as the Hokies have plenty of depth questions once you get past the starting trio. Tech’s interior offensive line backups are largely made up of guys in their first or second seasons in Blacksburg plus a walk-on who may be important for depth reasons in the short term at center.
That’s why you see the non-freshmen at the backup spots currently with center usually being the biggest learning curve. That currently means that walk-on Nikolai Bujnowski is the backup at center though he has shown promise, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him earning the backup center job to start the season as true freshman Johnny Dickson adjusts to the collegiate game.
Elsewhere, Danijel Miletic is in line to be the backup at left guard and could be one of the first offensive linemen in the game further down the depth chart. Miletic seems like the most likely of the backup guards to maintain his spot from this incoming freshmen class in part because he has good size for the guard position at 6’3” and 303 pounds.
At the other spot is Jack Hollifield who was a center for a little bit but moved to guard and is currently at the other backup guard spot. However, Hollifield is listed at only 6’3” and 271 pounds which is definitely a concern to stay the least and makes him the backup who could be most likely to be passed by one of the incoming true freshmen.
There’s a trio of guards this cycle starting with Brody Meadows who also spent some time at tackle this spring, but OL coach Joe Rudolph told Michael Niziolek of the Roanoke Times that Meadows will primarily be working at guard. That spring experience could prove valuable though for Meadows for his hopes of breaking into the two-deep at guard during fall camp.
Braelin Moore, younger brother of Kaden Moore, spent this spring at defensive tackle but is moving to offensive guard as confirmed in the aforementioned Roanoke Times story. Although that may put him behind the eight ball somewhat, he was able to get into a collegiate strength & conditioning program this spring while his DT experience could also prove valuable moving to the other side.
Hunter McClain was an Early Signing Day offer and signee, and is an intriguing long term prospect, but I would be surprised if he ended up breaking into the two-deep this season.
Tech has loads of questions about their depth across the offensive line and will need some very young linemen to step up behind the starting trio if injuries come.