Bud Foster lost some depth on the defensive line Tuesday after it was announced that Houshun Gaines, Xavier Burke and Jimmie Taylor were all omitted from the team’s roster, Andy Bitter reports.
Gaines is coming off a tough season where he suffered a torn ACL as well as a death in the family, both of which occurred in October. The thinking from team officials is that leaving Gaines off the roster will not force a rushed return while he recovers. That being said, there is a possibility that he returns to the team in the future.
Gaines’ presence will be missed on the field after he made strides as a pass rusher for Tech’s defense. His 4.5 sacks in nine games last season was a team high.
Burke’s absence can also be attributed to injuries after a torn Achilles ended his season last season when Virginia Tech went up against Pittsburgh on Nov. 10. Bitter believes that Burke will likely leave as a graduate transfer after playing in six games last season and recording just seven tackles.
Taylor has decided to take a medical retirement after consistent abdominal issues, though he may be staying on as a student assistant on the team. Taylor, a redshirt sophomore, played in five games last season.
Tech’s defensive line is arguably the defense’s thinnest group now with three players out of the picture. While Rob Porcher, Eli Adams and Jaevon Becton are returning, the team will also have to rely on two JUCO transfers in DaShawn Crawford and Jaden Cunningham to provide depth. Incoming freshmen Mario Kendricks, Norell Pollard and Joshua Fuga will also get a chance at playing time this season.