Virginia Tech redshirt sophomore Kris Harley has been granted a release from his scholarship and will transfer to Western Illinois of the Football Championship Subdivision, he confirmed via Twitter on Monday morning.
Harley, a backup defensive tackle, played sparingly this season and did not travel to most away games as he fell out of favor with the Hokies’ coaching staff. He had just two tackles this year and finished his Virginia Tech career with eight tackles and one interception.
From the same high school as former Hokies tailback Darren Evans, Harley arrived on campus as one of three four-star prospects in Virginia Tech’s 2011 recruiting class. But the 6-foot, 283-pound Indianapolis native struggled with his conditioning at times and was passed on the depth chart by freshmen Nigel Williams and Woody Baron this past season.
With Harley gone, only 11 of the 21 prospects the Hokies welcomed into the program on national signing day in 2011 remain on the roster.
Since starter Derrick Hopkins graduated, Virginia Tech also has just three defensive tackles on scholarship heading into spring practice and junior Luther Maddy has yet to announce whether he will forgo his senior year and declare for the 2014 NFL draft.
The Hokies have received oral commitments from two defensive tackle recruits — Hampton, Va., native Ricky Walker and Steve Sobczak of Fredericksburg — and are still awaiting word from Virginia Beach defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi, one of the top 2014 prospects in the state of Virginia.
Nnadi, whose father went to Virginia Tech, is also considering scholarship offers from Virginia, Florida State, Ohio State and Penn State.