CHARLOTTE - Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente went over some recent roster changes in a session with local writers at the ACC Kickoff on Wednesday afternoon.
Fuente said defensive tackle Jaden Cunningham signed a medical waiver after spring camp ended. Fuente was initially encouraged by the shape Cunningham returned to campus in this spring, and the defender’s did well early in spring practice coming off an achilles injury.
He didn’t suffer any setbacks during camp, but ultimately decided he didn’t want to continue playing.
Cunningham’s departure leaves Tech with five scholarship defensive tackles on the roster for fall — Clemson transfer Jordan Williams, Mario Kendricks, Norell Pollard, Josh Fuga and Desmond Mamudi.
There have been a pair of position changes since the end of spring with tight end Wilfried Pene moving over to defensive end and tight end Jack Hollifield moving to the offensive line. Former safety Lakeem Rudolph could end up at defensive end as well, but will open the fall at linebacker, which is where he spent spring camp.
“He's growing out of positions,” Fuente said, of the 6-foot-4, 227-pounder. “I don't mean there's nowhere for him to go, but he's outgrowing wherever he's at."
According to Fuente, Hollifield is a natural fit for the interior of the offensive line, and will open the fall at center.
"He's 275 pounds right now,” Fuetne said. “The Hollifields don't have a hard time. I'm not talking about Jen. I'm not talking about his Mom. Jack and Dax don't have any problem. That was just where he needed to move to. He seems to have taken to it really well. We are really encouraged by it."
In the secondary, Devon Hunter will remain at boundary safety and compete with Devin Taylor and Vanderbilt transfer Tae Daley for playing time. Taylor is still rehabbing a broken leg he suffered towards the end of spring camp.
Fuente didn’t offer a timeline for Taylor’s full return to the lineup. Taylor and Daley split time with the first team defense during the spring.
There are a pair of freshman summer enrollees at positions different than the ones Tech initially announced when they signed. Keli Lawson will start his career out at receiver instead of on the defense, and Elijah Howard will open the year at corner. He’s listed on the team’s roster as a linebacker, but Fuente said that was just an error.