Starting free safety Kam Chancellor told the media following the Orange Bowl
that he will be returning to Virginia Tech for his senior season. Chancellor, a
junior, played free safety this year. It was his fourth position on the team in
three years, if you count the few days he spent at quarterback when he first
Chancellor finished the season with 52 tackles, two interceptions and seven
passes defended. He is coming off his best game of the season in the Orange
Bowl, where he had an interception and broke up two passes.
If Chancellor changes his mind, he’ll have until January 15 to officially
declare for the NFL Draft.
Three names you might recognize will not be playing for Virginia Tech next
season. Wide receiver Ervin Garner, linebacker Hunter Ovens and tailback Jahre
Cheeseman will not be returning to the program for the 2009 season.
Garner is a r-freshman wide receiver who was considered for kick returning
duties this year. However, he never played in a game for the Hokies. Ovens,
another r-freshman, also did not play in a game in 2008. Both Garner and Ovens
are transferring to Liberty.
Cheeseman has decided to give up football. The r-junior was the frontrunner
to start at tailback at one point during the spring practice. However, a broken
leg set him back and he was never able to get back into the rotation. He had
just four carries for 21 yards on the year, all coming in the second game of the
season against Furman.
Another Top 10 Hokie Defense
Bud Foster’s defense allowed an average of 279.43 yards per game this season.
That currently ranks ninth in the nation. After the final two BCS games are
played, that ranking is likely to improve.
The Hokies rank just behind Ohio State (#7, 279.25 ypg) and Florida (#8,
279.31 ypg) in total defense. The Buckeyes and the Gators will be facing major
offensive powerhouses in their respective bowl games. OSU will take on Texas in
the Fiesta Bowl, and the Longhorns average 476.42 yards per game. Florida will
play Oklahoma for the National Championship, and the Sooners average 562.08
yards per game.
Judging from the offenses they’ll be facing in their bowls, it’s very likely
Ohio State and Florida will fall below Virginia Tech in total defense. That
would put the Hokies at #7 in the nation in total defense.
Wherever they finish in the rankings, it’s clear that defensive coordinator
Bud Foster has done a great job this year, as he does every year. Since 1999,
the Hokies have finished in the top 10 in total defense seven times (the
exceptions were 2000, 2002 and 2003), including each of the last five seasons.