Drager Moving to Defensive End

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Virginia Tech has announced the move of r-sophomore tight end Chris Drager to defensive end. After evaluating the defensive end and tight end positions for the entire spring, the Tech coaching staff felt that Drager is needed more on the defensive side of the ball.

Chris Drager was a standout defensive end in high school, where he recorded 53 tackles and nine sacks as a senior in 2006. Some scouts thought his best position in college would be defensive end, and this move has been rumored in the past.

At 6-3, 239, Drager has the size to play defensive end, and he will likely get bigger over the summer as well. He was tied atop the depth chart with Greg Boone, but the Hokies also have proven tight ends in Andre Smith and Sam Wheeler. Four tight ends aren’t needed, and Drager is the most capable of playing defensive end.

For his career, Drager has five catches for 60 yards. He was playing as a true freshman in 2007, but a torn ACL forced him to take a medical red shirt after four games.

At defensive end, Jason Worilds will return as a starter. The coaching staff now must decide whether John Graves will stay at end or move back inside to tackle. If he moves back to tackle, that would move Nekos Brown into the starting lineup.

The Hokies also have r-junior Steven Friday, who missed most of the spring with an injury. Behind Friday, Tech has r-sophomore A.B. Latif, and r-freshmen Joe Jones and Isaiah Hamlette. After 15 spring practices, the coaching staff is apparently convinced that none of those players is ready for significant playing time.

Hokies to play Iowa in Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Virginia Tech will go on the road in this year’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge. They will travel to Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on December 1. Time and television coverage will be announced at a later date. The game will be televised by either ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.

The Hokies took on Iowa in the 2006 Big Ten/ACC Challenge, knocking them off in Cassell Coliseum 69-65. That was the first and only meeting between the two schools.

Carver-Hawkeye Arena has developed a reputation as a very difficult place to play. Iowa is 253-74 at home since the building opened in 1983. That’s a winning percentage of 77.4%. In non-conference home games, Iowa is 131-13 for a mark of 91%.

Virginia Tech loses A.D. Vassallo and Cheick Diakite, but the remainder of the lineup remains in place. The Hokies will be led by rising juniors Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen.

Iowa has suffered through a lot of offseason attrition. Leading scorer Jake Kelly transferred to Indiana State. Third leading scorer Jeff Peterson also transferred out. Both players were point guards, and that leaves the Hawkeyes very thin at that position. They may have to start incoming freshman Cully Payne at point guard.

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