Though Cody Journell is still facing felony breaking-and-entering charges stemming from a Dec. 21 incident at the residence of Virginia Tech basketball player Dorenzo Hudson, a university spokesman said Wednesday that the Hokies’ former place kicker is still enrolled in school and remains on scholarship this semester.
Journell was originally scheduled to appear in Montgomery County General District Court on Thursday for a preliminary hearing, but that court date has been postponed until May 10 because of a request from one of the two other defendants in the case.
That means there is no chance Journell, who has been indefinitely suspended from the football team until the case is resolved, can be reinstated in time for spring practice this year and his long-term future with the Hokies remains in doubt. He is no longer listed as part of Virginia Tech’s football roster on its official Web site.
Journell is still charged with a felony because of the possibility a deadly weapon was involved, but defense attorneys have determined the weapon in question was a BB gun. Journell also switched lawyers when he was released on a $100,000 secure bond after spending almost a week in jail around the Christmas holiday. He’s now being represented by Jimmy Turk, who also defended basketball player Jarell Eddie last year when he faced a marijuana possession charge.
If Journell is convicted of the felony, he would be automatically removed from the football team, according to Virginia Tech’s University Policy 1035. If the charges are dropped to a misdemeanor and Journell is convicted, Athletic Director Jim Weaver would then review the case and dole out what he deems to be appropriate sanctions.
Journell is just the second kicker ever under Coach Frank Beamer to earn a scholarship out of high school (longtime NFL place kicker Shayne Graham is the other). The redshirt sophomore was the Hokies’ starting place kicker for most of the 2011 season, connecting on 14 of his 17 field goals to earn honorable mention all-ACC distinction.
These legal issues, however, kept Journell out of the Sugar Bowl. Then when the Hokies arrived in New Orleans, one of his potential replacements, senior Tyler Weiss, was sent home on a bus after missing curfew the first night.
Senior Justin Myer filled in admirably against Michigan, hitting his first four field goals. But he missed a 37-yard attempt in overtime, and the Wolverines went on to score a 23-20 victory.
Since then the Hokies have made recruiting kickers a high priority. At the end of the 2012 recruiting cycle, Virginia Tech persuaded All-Met kicker Hunter Windmuller of Flint Hill High to become a preferred walk-on next season. Hokies assistant Shane Beamer also secured a preferred walk-on commitment from kicker Brooks Abbott, a U.S. Army all-American from Jacksonville, Fla. who played at the same high school as offensive lineman Brent Benedict, a transfer from Georgia.
Without Journell in spring practice, Virginia Tech will likely have former All-Met Michael Branthover and redshirt sophomore Conor Goulding split kicking duties, although neither has ever attempted a field goal in a college game before.