Four players decide to leave Virginia Tech football program

Four players are leaving Virginia Tech’s football program now that the 2011-12 season is complete, according to Coach Frank Beamer’s official Web site. Defensive tackle Isaiah Hamlette (Brooke Point High), quarterback Ju-Ju Clayton, defensive lineman Dwight Tucker and offensive guard Courtney Prince all have one year of eligibility left, but will not return to the team next season.

Both Hamlette and Prince have already graduated and plan to continue their playing careers at a Football Championship Subdivision school. Prince has already decided to transfer to Eastern Kentucky.

Hamlette was the only player of the group that received much playing time this season, finishing with seven tackles in 13 games. Prince, who came to Virginia Tech as a defensive lineman but was moved to offensive guard, memorably filled in at defensive tackle on the final drives of the Miami game back on Oct. 8 as Hurricanes running back Lamar Miller wore down the Hokies’ defense in the latter stages of that game.

Clayton and Tucker also have their degrees, and don’t plan to continue their playing careers. Clayton, you’ll remember, actually had a serious competition with Logan Thomas to be Tyrod Taylor’s backup before the 2010 season. Clayton attempted just five career passes.

With those four scholarship openings, Beamer’s site also reported that the Hokies plan to have four early enrollees in January. Two of them will be running back J.C. Coleman and defensive end DeWayne Alford. The other two were not announced by the site because they have not signed their acceptance letters yet.

Coleman, from Oscar Smith High in Chesapeake, Va., is considered the No. 3 all-purpose back in the country by Rivals.com. He will compete for the starting running back job if junior David Wilson declares for the NFL draft Friday at an 11 a.m. press conference.

Beamer’s site said the team expects to have an 11-member senior class next season, and did not list Wilson as one of them.

Mark Giannotto covers high school sports for The Washington Post.

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