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Houshun Gaines (right) and Emmanuel Belmar (left) are among the Hokies looking to help replace Trevon Hill.

BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech defensive end Houshun Gaines has entered his name into the transfer portal.

Tech confirmed the news late Friday afternoon after a report from ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg. Gaines tweeted about the decision shortly after that.

“First and foremost I would like to take the time to tell everyone who has been on this journey with me, thank you,” Gaines said. “Through my highs and my lows the continuous support I’ve been graced with has been unbelievable. With that being said while I love being a Hokie, and a student at Virginia Tech, all good things must eventually come to an end. After consultation with my family I have decided it is best for me to enter my name in the transfer portal and finish collegiate career at another university.”

Gaines sat out the 2019 season to focus on his mental and physical health. The defensive end suffered a torn ACL late in the 2018 season against Pittsburgh. He was the Hokies leading pass rusher with 4.5 sacks at the time.

Earlier in the season, Gaines’ mother Tardra Hilliard, 44, passed away.

“The coaching and support staff is providing all the resources they can to get him in a good place,” a source told The Roanoke Times over the summer. “Everyone wants to see House come out the other side of this.”

Gaines had her initials painted on his cheeks when Virginia Tech played Duke just days before she died. He spoke about his mother’s health challenges after leading the Hokies to a 31-14 with a career-high 2.5 sacks.

“It’s been tough, but the main thing is just coming out and coming around my guys and being around my team is really uplifting,” Gaines said, after the game. “Being able to play football, it gives you a moment to get away from anything and get swallowed up in a whole different world. I love this team. I love the coaches. I love my guys. I love this program. Without them, honestly, I don’t know if I would be sitting here acting the way I am.”

He spent the early portion of the season traveling back-and-forth to North Carolina during the week visiting his mother.

While Tech didn’t shut the door on Gaines coming back, there were some logistical hurdles to be worked out if he decided to pursue a sixth year of eligibility. He redshirted in 2015 as a true freshman out of Nash Central High School in North Carolina. He played in 33 games with the Hokies (11 starts) and had 51 tackles (31 solo) with 12.5 for a loss, eight sacks and two forced fumbles.

Mike Niziolek is the Virginia Tech football beat writer for The Roanoke Times. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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