By Brooks Tiffany, sports staff writer
Note: As part of the Collegiate Times’ coverage of Virginia Tech football, we’ll be breaking down the 2012 football roster every weekday until March 28 when the Hokies begin spring practice.
Weight: 287 pounds
Position: Offensive Guard
2012 Year: Redshirt-Sophomore
Matt Arkema came to Tech touted as a talented lineman, ranked No. 28 in the country among offensive guards by Rivals. He had over 10 scholarship offers from schools such as Maryland, ECU, Marshall, and Vanderbilt, but ultimately went with his home state in Tech.
He redshirted the 2010 season and worked at left guard for the scout team, putting a lot of time in the weight room. He showed amazing strength with his 314 pound clean, beating out the entire scout team, and posted a 385-pound front squat during the fall and winter workouts.
Though he started on the left side of the line, he ended up being switched to the right side and secured the No. 2 spot for that position. His hard work and commitment earned him playing time during the 2011 season as he saw his first collegiate action against Appalachian State. He ended up playing in a total of four games on the season with his largest number of offensive snaps coming in at 11 against Virginia.
This spring brings a challenge for Arkema as he will be battling to secure a backup spot at the guard position against the likes of Michael Via, Jake Goins, and Kory Gough for the spots, though he is probably the most advanced of the group along with Via.
Look for Arkema to secure the top backup spot at right guard and see a heavily increased workload this season as he’ll be the first in to replace David Wang when he needs to cycle out.