Only half a year into college, Wilson’s former star wide receiver, Sean Savoy, has made a strong first impression on the NCAA Division I football scene. The freshman Virginia Tech Hokie accumulated 454 receiving yards on 39 catches, four of which were touchdowns. He ranks second among all Virginia Tech players in each of these categories. He also has proven to be a notable factor in the team’s running game, picking up 116 yards and two touchdowns on the ground on 24 carries this season.
While he admitted that it took time to adjust to an unfamiliar offensive scheme, Savoy was up for the challenge, which included preparation to play outside of his usual position as a slot receiver. “Learning the playbook was kind of hard, but I just had to put in the time,” he says. “But that’s what I knew I’d have to do. Not just learn in the slot but learning the outside too, so that in case anything happens to an outside receiver I can go out there and play.”
Savoy quickly adjusted to the difference in level of competition between high school and college football. “It’s way faster; you got more guys that know the game better than a lot of high school guys,” he says. “It was faster but I think I kept up and was doing my job.” In addition to the speed of play, there is a significant change in the atmosphere of a college football game. “You’ll always get at least 65,000 people, but those night games, when that stadium’s rocking, it feels like everything’s about to fall down,” he says.
Since Savoy’s graduation from Wilson last year, Wilson football coach Mark Martin has remained invested in the young star’s development, both as a player and an adult. In addition to talking to Savoy on the phone every week, Martin watches all of his games and has even attended multiple of them.
Though he isn’t coaching him anymore, Martin is impressed with the way Savoy has played thus far. “The way he stepped in as a true freshman and contributed the way he did is really impressive,” Martin says of Savoy. “One thing about Sean is he worked real hard and he wants to be coached. He takes criticism very well, and that helps him work harder.”
Savoy started every regular-season game with the exception of the Hokies’ match against the University of Virginia, during which he sat out due to a hamstring injury. He also sat out for the Camping World Bowl in Orlando during the postseason due to a virus.
But in the 12 games he started, Savoy demonstrated his speed and big play abilities, particularly in the Hokies’ 23-10 win against Boston College. In Boston, Savoy accrued 139 yards on nine receptions, including an impressive catch-and-run touchdown during the first quarter of the game.
With Virginia Tech’s number one receiving threat, Cam Phillips, graduating in 2018, Savoy is poised to take on role of the primary receiver next season, though he remains humble in regards to the possibility. “They have transfers, so I’m not going to say I’ll be the number one receiver, but I’m just going to try to play to my potential and accept the call of duty,” he says.
By the end of his run with Virginia Tech, Savoy’s main goal is to have won a national championship, but he won’t let that distract him from intermediary challenges. “Before you win a national championship, you have to win one game, and I think that the motto of our team, that we go 1-0 every game, helps with that,” he says.
After college, Savoy maintains his goal of playing in the National Football League. But for now, he is pleased with where he is, as his enthusiasm about Virginia Tech has not faltered since he’s been there. “I think it definitely feels like home,” he says. “I think that the next two years of my life are going to be crucial, and I just have to go out there and show the world what’s going on.” •
PHOTO BY BEN KORN