Virginia Tech Hokies without 15 players vs. North Carolina Tar Heels; DC Justin Hamilton returns

Virginia Tech was without 15 players against North Carolina in Saturday's 56-45 loss to the Tar Heels, including starting safeties Divine Deablo and Keonta Jenkins.

In addition to missing its starting safeties and three other key contributors in the secondary, Virginia Tech lost starting nickelback Chamarri Conner after he was ejected in the first quarter for targeting on North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell.

This is the third straight week the Hokies were significantly short-handed, though the school has not specified whether players are out because of injuries or coronavirus-related issues. Virginia Tech was missing 21 players against Duke last week and 23 players in its opener against NC State.

For the first time this season, defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton was available to coach. Virginia Tech also returned starting cornerbacks Jermaine Waller and Armani Chatman.

Deablo also missed the game against Duke. In addition to missing Deablo and Jenkins from the starting lineup, starting right tackle Luke Tenuta was also out.