Mixed in the ashes of a disappointing 13-10 home loss to Duke on Saturday, Virginia Tech can find some things to be excited about. At the top of that list is the future of the Virginia Tech defense, specifically true freshman cornerback Kendall Fuller.
Kendall Fuller had three interceptions against Duke.
Fuller was making his first start on Saturday as the boundary cornerback. Prior to Saturday, he had been Virginia Tech’s starting nickel defender. In that first start, Fuller helped his Virginia Tech defense hold Duke to under 200 yards of offense. He also helped limit Duke quarterback Anthony Boone to only 7 completions on the day. Most impressive of all, Fuller reeled in three interceptions. He also reeled in the honor of 247Sports National True Freshman of the Week.
With the award, Fuller becomes the second Hokie to earn the nod of True Freshman of the Week. Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster will have the luxury of working with two lock-down corners for at least two more seasons as cornerback Brandon Facyson won the award earlier this year for his performance against Georgia Tech.
Fuller earned the start on Saturday due to his older brother Kyle Fuller missing time with a groin injury. The other previous starter Facyson was out with a concussion. That left Fuller to step in against Duke’s pass-heavy offense in a new role. His running mate on the opposite corner was All-ACC defender Antone Exum who made his season debut after returning from injury himself. That left Duke with the option of trying the All-ACC veteran or the true freshman in his first start. Fuller was tested and he made Duke pay.
In addition to his three interceptions, Fuller had three tackles and another pass breakup. He continued to give Virginia Tech’s own turnover-prone offense chances to win the game.
With his three interceptions, Fuller now has five picks on the year, highest among freshmen in the nation and tied for the lead nationally regardless of year. Facyson in one less game has four interceptions.
Coming out of high school, Fuller was named a five-star prospect by 247Sports and ranked as the No. 3 cornerback in the country. The 247Composite rankings, a ranking generated using all major recruiting networks, agreed as he was a consensus five-star. In addition to the lofty ranking, Fuller hails from Maryland’s Good Counsel one of the elite high school football programs in the country. He also is the younger brother of the aforementioned Kyle Fuller and Corey Fuller, both Hokie standouts. Needless to say, Fuller came to Blacksburg with high expectations.
Eight games into his freshman season, Fuller has met if not exceeded even the highest of expectations and looks to be the foundation of continued success on the defensive side of the ball for Virginia Tech.
To date this season, Fuller has 31 tackles to go with his five interceptions. He also has 11 pass deflections, second on the team only to his older brother Kyle.
John O’Korn - Coming into Saturday, O’Korn led all freshmen with 14 touchdown passes. On Saturday, he added five more, throwing for 364 yards in a 49-14 route by Houston over Rutgers.
Week 1 - Baker Mayfield, Texas Tech
Week 2 - Alex Collins, Arkansas
Week 3 – Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh
Week 4 – Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh
Week 5 – Brandon Facyson, Virginia Tech
Week 6 – Carl Lawson, Auburn
Week 7 – Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
Week 8 - Davis Webb, Texas Tech