Redshirts Aplenty on Virginia Tech’s Defensive Line

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Ricky Walker
Ricky Walker

Charley Wiles is making liberal use of the redshirt this year.  Not only is he redshirting all his freshmen, but he’s also sitting a true sophomore as well.

Ricky Walker will Redshirt

It’s not surprise that true freshman defensive linemen Harry Lewis, Houshun Gaines and Darius Fullwood are redshirting.  It’s not even a surprise that Tim Settle will redshirt.  However, Charley Wiles made a somewhat surprising announcement on Wednesday night: true sophomore defensive tackle Ricky Walker will also redshirt, barring injury.

Walker was set to redshirt last season, but the injury to Luther Maddy forced him into action against East Carolina.  He played 99 snaps on defense throughout the season.  He’s completely on board with the idea of redshirting.

“As of right now, I’m prepared for a redshirt,” Walker said. “I’m definitely okay with that.”

Walker was set to be Tech’s #5 defensive tackle this season.  Charley Wiles normally plays four defensive tackles, and it was hard to justify playing Walker in an extremely limited role this year.  Tech’s defensive tackle depth chart will now look like this…

1: Luther Maddy (r-Sr.)
2: Corey Marshall (r-Sr.)
3: Woody Baron (Jr.)
4: Nigel Williams (r-Jr.)
5: Steve Sobsczak (r-Fr.)

Walker is using the redshirt year as a positive.

“That will give me more time for a degree, an education, and three more years on the field.  I’m fine with it.”

“Ricky had a good spring, a good camp,” defensive line coach Charley Wiles said.  “He really poured himself into it.”

This wasn’t a performanced-based decision.  Rather, it was a decision that was made to help the future.  Tech’s top four tackles are seniors and juniors.  Of course, it wasn’t a a move that could be made without the emergence of r-freshman Steve Sobsczak.

“I think Sobscak’s stepping up,” Wiles said.

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

Highly-touted defensive tackle Tim Settle will also likely redshirt this season, according to Wiles.

“How do you get Tim enough reps to get him ready to play?” Wiles asked rhetorically. “We’re not in a position right now that we have to play him.  If you had to pour every single day and every single rep into him, you could probably get him ready to play.”

Right now, Settle would be no higher than #6 on the depth chart.  In reality, he is probably #7.  He has plenty of talent, but he needs to work on some things.

“It’s a combination of getting into shape, getting his body weight down,” Wiles said. “Tim’s not going to be 300.  Those days are in his rear view mirror.  But let’s get him down there to three and a quarter.  Let’s get him into some kind of shape where he looks like quick, athletic guy all the time.”

He’s shown flashes this August, but it hasn’t been consistent.

“He does [look quick and athletic] at times.  The kid has got some tools.  We just can’t get him enough reps right now to get him ready to play.  You’d be robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Wiles is still extremely high on his future.

“The kid is liable to be a three-year starter for us.  I’ll be disappointed if he’s not.”

True Freshman Ends will Also Redshirt

We already knew that Trevon Hill would redshirt because of his knee injury.  Houshun Gaines and Darius Fullwood will also redshirt this season, and the Hokies will go with four defensive ends.

“They ain’t ready to play, man,” Wiles said. “I ain’t gonna say they got worse as it went on, but they certainly got more overwhelmed.”

That’s natural.  Going from high school to college is always a big adjustment, and as more of the playbook gets thrown at you, the game doesn’t exactly speed up.

“They showed flashes through camp,” Wiles said.  “They are pretty good prospects.  But as camp went on, just not physical enough, and it just kind of wore on them mentally.  Not mentally tough enough.  But good prospects though.”

All three of those ends will be in a position to compete for a spot in the two-deep next season, though only one spot (Dadi’s) might be open.

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9 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. I just hope this doesn’t hurt our standing in the future of getting high end recruits by redshirting Settle. Love the plan, just hope he is ok with it

  2. Generally, the closer to the ball the harder it is to start early. Unless they are an exception talent, most lineman will need to redshirt.

  3. I love this move. This helps our “needs” in recruiting as well. We can address WR and LB, & OL, while not taking as many DL this year. Walker, Settle, Fullwood, Hill, Gaines & Sobzcak & Mihota will all have 3-4 years left to contribute starting in 2016. Think about that set of talent. Mihota and Fullwood could swing inside if needed, but that is 4 good DEs who have a lot of playing time in front of them.

  4. It was not too long ago that “the sky was falling” because we could not attract big time DT recruits. I think we are just fine.

    The smart guys are realizing how fun it can be to play DT for Wiles in a system where you are expected to attack the line and disrupt things. DT is not generally a glamorous position but you can gain some notoriety at VT!

    1. Good post. I think it’s great that Ricky is on board with redshirting this year. It will help both him and the team in the long run.

  5. Looks like the players are been redshirted with their best interest at heart. Admit I am surprised Walker and Fullwood are being redshirted. But a future duo of Walker and Settle sounds scary.

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