Hokies QB Josh Jackson, RB Deshawn McClease say they're transferring

Virginia Tech quarterback Josh Jackson and running back Deshawn McClease announced Wednesday that they will transfer, joining two teammates who also announced their intention to transfer earlier this week.

"After much thought, consideration and discussion with my family, we think it'd be best for me to pursue my academic and football career elsewhere," Jackson posted on Twitter.

McClease posted his tweet later Wednesday, writing, "After discussing with my family, we believe that it is best for me to transfer to another university following graduation this spring. I am very eager to continue my football journey and further my education."

Jackson and McClease are the latest Hokies players to leave the program. On Tuesday, receiver Eric Kumah and tight end Chris Cunningham said they would transfer.

After news of Jackson's potential transfer became public Wednesday afternoon, Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente issued a statement, saying in part that his coaching staff remains committed to developing a "winning culture."

"As a head coach I certainly understand when young men desire to explore their options by entering themselves in the NCAA's transfer portal. Immediate eligibility for graduate transfers has become another piece of the changing landscape for college football student-athletes and coaches across the country.

"I respect the fact that each individual's circumstances and situation are different. We will continue to support all our student-athletes and wish them best whether their future is at Virginia Tech or another institution. Our evaluation of all aspects of our football program is constant and ongoing. In my postseason one-on-one meetings with our student-athletes I asked for their input on what we can do better as a coaching staff and how I can better serve them as their head coach. I appreciate their feedback, as well as their willingness and desire to do whatever it takes to help us improve individually and collectively in 2019.

"With that said, I'm very excited about the character and the talent of the young men on our team and remain enthused about the potential of this football team for 2019 and beyond. We will continue working hard to get better, myself and our entire staff included. Our winter conditioning program began on Tuesday and I can't wait to get back on the field with our players and coaches this spring."

Jackson would be a graduate transfer and eligible to play right away. He was Virginia Tech's starting quarterback for all of 2017 and the first three games of 2018 before breaking his left leg and missing the rest of the season.

Ryan Willis played well in his absence, and Hendon Hooker and Quincy Patterson are expected to add to the competition at the position this spring.

Kumah finished second on the team in 2018 with 42 catches for 549 yards and seven touchdowns.

McClease rushed for 433 yards on 96 attempts with two touchdowns. He missed two games with an injury.

McClease sat out his first two seasons in Blacksburg, redshirting as a freshman and missing the 2016 season with a shoulder injury.

Virginia Tech (6-7, 4-4) had several other players leave the team during the season, including receiver Sean Savoy, linebacker Rico Kearney and offensive lineman D'Andre Plantin. Starting defensive end Trevon Hill was dismissed from the team last September.