2007 Spring Football Preview: The Defensive Line

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Virginia Tech’s defensive line lost Noland Burchette, but they return every
other player that saw significant action last season. There is no superstar
among this group, but rather a large number of solid players who are looking to
raise their game to the All-Conference level. There are several players who have
a good chance to do that.

The Hokies are known for getting a lot of sacks, but that stems from their
reputation in the mid-to-late 1990s with Cornell Brown and Corey Moore. Last
season Chris Ellis led the team with 4.5 sacks, and that was a down year for him
based on his 2005 performance.

Tech is now a team that depends on gap control by their defensive linemen,
rather than all-out pressure on the quarterback. With three senior starters up
front this year, they won’t have a problem controlling the line of scrimmage
against most of their opponents.

Defensive End

Ellis, 6-5, 260, r-Sr.

Chris Ellis has been a regular in the starting lineup since he was a
freshman, and a starter for the past two seasons. He has proved to be a valuable
member of a defensive line that is very tough to run against. This year Ellis
will be a senior, and he’s still looking for that breakout year that many
thought would come last year, or the year before.

Ellis had 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss in 2006, down from his six sacks
and 10.5 tackles for loss in 2005. However, he spent most of the season battling
a shoulder injury that he suffered on the first play of the second game of the
season at UNC. He had surgery in January to repair the injury, and it was
revealed he had a torn labrum. As a result, he’ll miss spring practice.

Missing spring is no big deal for Ellis. He’s been in the battles before, and
it’s important that he get 100% healthy before the season starts.

Orion Martin, 6-2, 250, r-Jr.

Orion Martin is a former walk-on who showed in his first two seasons