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Virginia Tech Football: 2022 Team Awards

It was a tough and challenging season for the Hokies but there were still some bright spots.
Kaleb Smith, Virginia Tech Hokies Football

Kaleb Smith emerged as the Hokies' biggest playmaker on offense this season.

Nobody was expecting Virginia Tech to compete for an ACC championship, but 3-8 was far worse than any analyst forecasted for the '22 Hokies. Unfortunately, a two-month losing streak made that dismal record a reality. What happens in the future remains a great mystery, but here is a look back at Virginia Tech's autumn to forget.

Offensive MVP: Kaleb Smith, WR

The senior wide receiver had 37 receptions in his career coming into 2022 and had the exact same number this fall. The former walk-on was the most consistent and explosive offensive player, averaging 18.2 yards per each grab.

Defensive MVP: Tyjuan Garbutt, DE

No Hokie made any of the three All-ACC teams, but a case could have been made for Garbutt. The fifth-year senior had career and team highs with 12 tackles for lost yardage and 6.5 sacks.

Best Freshman: Mansoor Delane, CB

The Severn, Maryland, product finished sixth on the team in tackles and led the team with eight pass breakups. He also forced two fumbles and had an interception. Delane was the most impactful freshman by a long shot.

Best Play of the Season: TyJuan Garbutt sack and forced fumble to end the Liberty game

Because the last game of the season was canceled due to the tragedy in Charlottesville, the season's final memory is the win over Liberty, who was 8-2 at the time. The game was sealed when Garbutt sacked Flames quarterback Jonathan Bennett, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Jaylen Griffin.

Best Performance (Player): Kaleb Smith vs. Pitt

Though he was overshadowed by Israel Abanikanda's 320 rushing yards, Smith shined as well, catching nine passes for 152 yards.

Best Performance (Team): Boston College

After a season-opening loss to Old Dominion, the Hokies bounced back by dominating Boston College. The defense was lights out, giving up just 155 total yards and four yards on the ground.

Defining Moment: Loss to Old Dominion

Dropping the opener set the tone for the entire season. Losing to an in-state Group of 5 team is bad enough. Losing to one that finishes the season with just three wins is downright appalling.

Biggest Surprise: Mansoor Delane

As a three-star recruit that was considered the No. 651 prospect in the 2022 Class, Delane was expected to be a developmental player that would not see major minutes this fall. But at the end of the year, the true freshman was an All-ACC honorable mention selection.

Biggest Disappointment: Quarterback play

There were obviously many disappointments but it all starts with quarterback play. Grant Wells had as many touchdowns as interceptions (nine each) and averaged just 6.5 yards per pass attempt. It seems like forever since the Hokies have had an above-average quarterback and watching Hendon Hooker in Knoxville made matters even worse.

Senior Who Will Be Missed the Most: TyJuan Garbutt

A case could be made for Dax Hollifield, the linebacker that had at least 50 tackles in each of his five seasons in Blacksburg. But Garbutt is more explosive and is the player on defense that the opposition had to scheme against.

Player to Watch in 2022: The next quarterback

At the current time, we don't know who that player will be. Perhaps it's Tahj Bullock or Devin Farrell, two youngsters on the current roster. Or maybe a transfer will come in and take the reins. But the only way the offense can improve is with a spark provided by a new quarterback.

Offseason Storyline: Is Brent Pry the right man for the job?

In reality, no one knows and nothing will be done in the offseason to answer that question either way. But whether or not Pry has the ability to successfully lead this program will be something that all Hokie fans will be pondering over the next nine months.

Written by Jon Kinne, who has been part of the Athlon Contributor Network for three years, focusing on the ACC and Notre Dame. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.