4. College Football News Preview 2020: Virginia Tech Hokies Defense 3 Things To Know
– The defense wasn’t always a rock, but it was a force at times allowing 17 points or fewer six times. If all goes according to plan, ten starters are back with 16 of the top 18 tacklers likely to return. Best of all, just about all of the pass rushers are back after a solid year.
The transfer portal is taking away a few prospects from the defensive front, but all four starters are back around 288-pound senior Jarrod Hewitt on the nose. There isn’t a ton of bulk – there aren’t any 300-pound Coke machines – but everyone can move.
– Start with 120-tackle Rayshard Ashby in the middle of the linebacking corps, and everything else works around him. 6-1, 232-pound junior Dax Hollifield can work inside or out – he finished fifth on the team 68 tackles – and Alan Tisdale is an all-around playmaker who made 52 stops and can get behind the line. This group is good.
– The secondary had a few clunkers – who gives up 469 passing yards to last year’s Miami offense? – but it also picked off a whole lot of passes, including four against the Hurricanes.
In all, everyone who came up with an interception last year is back, with corner Caleb Farley leading the way with four. He earned All-ACC honors, safety Divine Deablo is back after finishing second on the team with 84 stops, and in all, four of the five starters are expected back.