Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer announced Wednesday that embattled place kicker Cody Journell has been kicked off the football team for a violation of team policies. In a school release, Virginia Tech said Beamer would not have further comment on the situation.
Journell has been the Hokies’ starting place kicker since 2011, but the redshirt senior has struggled to avoid the spotlight during his time on campus.
Before the 2012 season, Journell needed to be reinstated to the program by Athletic Director Jim Weaver after being charged with felony breaking and entering and spending a week in jail. He later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor trespassing but missed the 2012 Sugar Bowl as a result.
In September, Journell was suspended for a 29-21 overtime win against Marshall after violating team rules. Nonetheless, Beamer continued to support Journell, one of the few place kickers he has ever offered a scholarship to straight out of high school.
Journell played at Giles High in Ripplemead, Va., just 20 miles outside Blacksburg. He earned honorable mention all-ACC honors in 2011 and kicked three winning field goals last year.
“He’s made some mistakes, but he’s certainly a good kicker, good kid, good family,” Beamer said earlier this season after Journell returned from suspension. “He’s made some mistakes, but as far as his ability kicking, he’s solid. He’s got the same flight every time. He’s made some big kicks.”
This season, his kicking had been erratic: He made10 of 16 field goal attempts. He had two costly misses in Virginia Tech’s 13-10 loss to Duke last month and even received threats from Hokies fans earlier this season.
But Journell seemed to regain his groove recently. He earned ACC specialist of the week honors for the second time in three games when he connected on a career-long 56-yard field goal as well as a 47-yarder at Boston College two weeks ago.
When Journell didn’t play against Marshall earlier this year, Beamer turned to redshirt junior Ethan Keyserling. He missed all three of his field goal attempts.
Beamer did not announce a replacement for when Virginia Tech takes on Maryland Saturday in its final home game of the regular season. No kicker or punter currently on the Hokies roster has ever made a field goal in a college game.