ACC All Access: Virginia Tech wide receiver D.J. Coles is out for the rest of the season with knee injury

At the very least, Virginia Tech's coaching staff has to be hopeful the emergence of wide receivers Corey Fuller and Demitri Knowles against Georgia Tech means more to come for the unproven duo, because senior D.J. Coles won't provide anything on the field the rest of the season.

Coles, a 6-foot-4, 226-pound graduate of Goochland High, will have to sit out the rest of the season after re-injuring his right knee in Monday night's 20-17 overtime win against Georgia Tech. He had surgery on the same knee in January to repair damage to his posterior cruciate ligament.

Since he has played in less than 30 percent of the season, he'll apply for a medical hardship waiver, which would restore his eligibility for his senior season. Virginia Tech trainer Mike Goforth expects Coles will get the waiver. Also working in Coles' favor with regards to the waiver are the facts he hasn't redshirted yet and he's suffered an injury twice to the same body part.

Last season, Tech receiver Dyrell Roberts was granted a hardship waiver after suffering a broken arm in Tech's third game of the season against Arkansas State. It was also supposed to be Roberts' senior season, but he applied for the waiver because he'd played in less than 30 percent of Tech's games for the season.

Roberts, a Smithfield High graduate, also had never redshirted and he'd lost playing time due to injury twice in his career. He's back on the field this season as a senior and he started the Georgia Tech game.

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Coles missed much of the preseason while he continued to rehabilitate from his surgery in January. He didn't get cleared for full participation in practice until Aug. 23.

He had a breakout season last year by finishing third on the team with 36 catches for 480 yards and three touchdowns. Prior to last season, he had just three catches for 27 yards in his career.

With Coles gone for the season, Virginia Tech will need to get more from guys like Fuller and Knowles. Tech still has a solid core of receivers with seniors Marcus Davis and Roberts, but Fuller and Knowles will compete for the No. 3 receiver spot.

Fuller, who is the brother of Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller, former Tech safety Vincent Fuller and future Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller (a commitment for the class of 2013, transferred to Tech in 2010 from Kansas and walked on to the Hokies' football team. He ran track at Kansas.

In his first season of football eligibility last fall, he played in six games and had just two catches for 19 yards. His role started to change in Monday night's season-opener after Coles left the game in the first quarter with the knee injury.

Against Georgia Tech, Fuller was second on the team with five catches for 82 yards. He had two critical receptions on Virginia Tech's final drive in regulation that led to a game-tying 41-yard field goal by Cody Journell.

Fuller opened the drive with a 22-yard catch on a crossing pattern. Then, with Virginia Tech facing fourth-and-4 from Georgia Tech's 47-yard line, quarterback Logan Thomas found Fuller on a slant pattern with a perfect pass to pick up 23 yards with six seconds left.

On Virginia Tech's previous drive, Thomas went deep to connect with Knowles on a fly pattern for a 42-yard touchdown with 7:46 left to put Virginia Tech up 14-10. It was Knowles' first career reception. He had just entered the game at receiver to replace Davis, who was injured on the previous play while making a catch that went for 35 yards.

In addition to Fuller and Knowles, redshirt freshman receiver Kevin Asante will be in line for more playing time. True freshman receiver Joshua Stanford was right on the line between redshirting and playing this season, but he'll now be a lot closer to getting on the field.

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