2009 Class Needs: The Defense

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The past several classes, Virginia Tech has really loaded up on the defensive linemen and linebackers. The current projections from the 2007 and 2008 classes stand as follows: 9 defensive linemen, 8 linebackers, 5 defensive backs. One of the more interesting dynamics to follow will be the ultimate position destinations for some of these kids, as more than a few could end up playing another position than the original projection. This could influence the staff’s thinking in terms of needs for this class, although defensive back appears to be the biggest overall need for 2009 recruiting.

As we did with the offense, let’s take a look at the defensive needs by position.

Defensive Line

2009 Projected Roster

Seniors (3): Nekos Brown (DE), Demetrius Taylor (DE), Cordarrow Thompson (DT)
Juniors (4): Stephen Friday (DE), John Graves (DT), Daryl Robertson (DT), Jason Worilds (DE)
Sophomores (2): Kwamaine Battle (DT), Justin Young (DE)
Sophomores/Red-shirt Freshmen (7): Nick Becton (DT), Isaiah Hamlette (DE), Antoine Hopkins (DT), Joe Jones (DE), Leon Mackey (DE), Courtney Prince (DT), Dwight Tucker (DT)

Virginia Tech had an outstanding haul of defensive line recruits in last year’s class. The staff signed a total of six defensive linemen, including three defensive tackles and three defensive ends. Gray-shirt defensive tackle Courtney Prince, who enrolled at Tech in January, gives the Hokies a total of seven new defensive linemen for this upcoming season. With the exception of 6-6, 290-pound Nick Becton, I expect all of these recruits to stay on the defensive side of the ball at Virginia Tech. TSL’s Chris Coleman believes that Becton, currently projected as a defensive tackle, will ultimately end up on the offensive line. Given the projected number of players at defensive tackle, this would not be a huge hit on the depth chart.

There could be some additions to the defensive line as well. There is already a buzz that South Carolina star linebacker Bruce Taylor may be a defensive end once he gets to Blacksburg…in fact, this is something Taylor is already sort of expecting. Amherst’s Derrick McCoy, a projected linebacker at this point, could also end up at defensive end by the time he gets to Blacksburg. McCoy, who likely will have to prep at Hargrave Military Academy, told me last night that he is now 6-4, 235 pounds. To me, that means that defensive end could likely be in his future at Tech. If one or both of these kids