Virginia Tech’s offensive line suffered a blow Thursday when the team announced senior offensive tackle Mark Shuman has elected to retire from football after an MRI exam revealed he suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee in practice last week.
Shuman, the son of Fork Union Military Academy post graduate Coach John Shuman, tore the meniscus in the same knee in 2011 and again during the preseason last year. However, he started training camp this season atop the Hokies’ depth chart at right tackle.
Virginia Tech should be well equiped to handle Shuman’s absence with sophomore Jonathan McLaughlin already battling to move back into the starting lineup. McLaughlin started every game last year at left tackle, but new offensive line coach Stacy Searels opted to switch the more athletic Laurence Gibson to left tackle when training camp began. Gibson lined up at right tackle opposite McLaughlin in 2013.
But Shuman’s absence will leave Virginia Tech without much experienced depth. The backup offensive tackles are now freshmen Parker Osterloh and Colt Pettit. Defensive tackle Wade Hansen also converted to the offensive line last week, and sophomore Augie Conte, a projected starter at guard, played some offensive tackle last year.
“I’m disappointed for our football team, and I know it’s really disappointing for Mark,” Coach Frank Beamer said in a statement. “He was well on his way to having his best year. He had put so much effort into his preparation, and he’s still very much a part of this team, just in another capacity.”
The 315-pound Shuman, a four-star recruit when he arrived on campus back in 2010, appeared in just 10 games during his Virginia Tech career. His older brother, Ryan, was a three-year starter on the offensive line with the Hokies (2006-2008) and works in Virginia Tech’s strength and conditioning program.