We’ll continue our series of 10 questions with a look at last year’s breakout defensive player: Kyshoen Jarrett .
Is Kyshoen Jarrett the next star of the defense?
At this time last year, Kyshoen Jarrett (5-11, 194, Jr.) was considered the question mark of the defense. He had played cornerback as a true freshman in 2011, and he was in his first season at his new position of rover. Everyone else had more experience, and was a more proven player.
Even during open scrimmages last August, Jarrett was a concern to me. He missed a few tackles, and in general wasn’t as consistent as he needed to be. That all changed on the opening night of the season when he laid the lumber to Georgia Tech. He didn’t let up for the rest of the season.
I’m not ready to say that Jarrett was Tech’s most consistent defensive player last year. I’m also not ready to say that he wasn’t. I think you can make the argument for him, as well as Jack Tyler and Derrick Hopkins. He certainly was the most consistent player in the secondary, despite being the major question mark of the defense in the preseason.
Jarrett had such a good season last year that he warranted his own personal highlight reel on YouTube. Here it is.
1) Open field tackling ability.
2) Great angles to ball carriers.
3) Great closing speed.
4) Big hitter.
5) Plays his assignments.
That’s pretty much everything you want in a defensive player.
Coming out of high school, Jarrett was rated the #5 player in the state of Pennsylvania, and the #175 player in the country overall. He was a big-time cornerback recruit with excellent feet. I don’t think anyone expected him to end up at rover, though he went on to excel at that position last season.
Last season, Jarrett finished with 83 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and four passes defended. Athlon has him as a Preseason First Team All-ACC Player, but that’s it. Everybody else seems to be overlooking him, because you know how people are … when it comes to defensive backs, if they don’t have a bunch of interceptions, your average media hack (myself included sometimes) doesn’t realize how good they are.
So while guys like Isaiah Johnson (Georgia Tech), Jason Hendricks (Pitt) and Terrence Brooks (FSU) might be better players to people who only look at stats, it’s hard to argue against Jarrett if you actually watch him play every single game. Because of his coverage skill, as well as his open field tackling ability, I believe he could make an outstanding nickel/whip for the Hokies if they don’t find an every down whip linebacker this season. They would then have to find an every down rover, but Jarrett’s versatility means that he can be used in various roles.
Even after playing great last season, Jarrett still isn’t the first defensive player that comes to mind for most Tech fans. They think about James Gayle, Derrick Hopkins, Kyle Fuller, Antone Exum, or maybe even 5-star freshman Kendall Fuller before they think about Jarrett. However, when 2013 is over, and Gaye, Hopkins, Fuller and Exum are gone, Kyshoen Jarrett will be the “big name” player on the Virginia Tech defense. He could potentially carry the lunch pail in 2014.