Postseason Check-in: DE James Gayle

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After not starting on the junior varsity level in either his freshman or sophomore seasons, James Gayle hoped things would change upon reaching the varsity level last season as a junior. Things did not start off well for Gayle, who was initially slotted as a safety, but things changed quickly once the Bethel (Hampton, VA) standout moved to defensive end.

The 6-3, 215-pound prospect’s junior season performance prompted scholarship offers from Purdue and Syracuse, among others, and this past summer he earned an offer from Virginia Tech after an impressive performance at Tech’s second senior camp. Gayle, who has since committed to Virginia Tech, continued his improvement this season.

“I think things went well this year,” said Gayle, who helped the Bruins to an 8-4 overall record and an appearance in the Division 6, Eastern Region semifinals. “I almost reached my goal for sacks. I think I had 13 or 14. I had more than last year. I had to deal with a lot of double teaming, but I still did my thing.”

A terrific athlete for his size, Gayle posted a 4.59-second time in the 40-yard dash at Virginia Tech’s summer camp. He saw action at defensive end as well as linebacker this season, but he will play with his hand on the ground in Bud Foster’s defense.

“They still want me as a defensive end at Virginia Tech. That’s what I’m going to sign as,” Gayle said. “I’m real excited to play with Virginia Tech because I think they were the eighth ranked defense in the nation this year and they have a real good defensive coordinator.”

Gayle is anxious to begin his Virginia Tech career, which should begin next summer.

“Their defensive ends just go for the quarterback,” Gayle said. “They are real aggressive. That’s how I am. The defense altogether there is an aggressive defense. I haven’t seen their defensive ends sit back with the linemen at all, which is what I did sometimes this year.”

Gayle has yet to visit Virginia Tech this fall, but he does plan to make an official visit at some point in the fall or winter. He has been working out with his former football teammates since the season ended, and just recently began indoor track.

“I’m a competitive person, so I try to go out there and compete,” Gayle said. “It doesn’t really relate