Top Football Players of the Decade: #5-#1

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Today it’s time for the final installment of the Top 10 Players of the Decade, with #5-#1. Most of you will probably guess who #1 is, but what about the other four? There are plenty of guys to choose from, and a few of the players you’re going to read about became legends in the minds of Hokie fans over the last 10 years.

Before we get started, there were really 12 guys that I wanted to include in this Top 10 list. The two who didn’t get included on this final version (they made my list on a couple of rough drafts) were defensive end Darryl Tapp and quarterback Tyrod Taylor. If this article is written a year from now rather than today, Taylor is easily on this list. Probably even in the Top 5.

But it’s not a year from now, and he’s not on it. It’s a highly debatable list, and I changed my mind on players, rankings, etc. I even changed the order of the Top 5 as early as this morning.

Alright, enough of that. Here’s the Top 5 …

#5, Vince Hall, Mike Linebacker

Vince Hall started at the mike linebacker position for the Hokies from 2004-07. He started the second game of his career, and never looked back. Easily the most instinctive middle linebacker in the program in the last decade, Hall was a tackling machine for the Hokies during their first four years in the ACC.

Hall’s career numbers are as impressive as they come for a linebacker. He recorded 404 tackles during his career, an average of 101 per season. He had 30.5 career tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks, to go along with three interceptions.

The 2006 season was Hall’s best. He led the ACC in tackles with 128 and was named a First Team All-ACC player. He also won the Dudley Award for best player in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He was the emotional and physical leader of a Virginia Tech defense that finished first in the nation in total defense that year.

In fact, Hall was the heart and soul of a defense that finished in the top four in all four seasons that he started at mike linebacker. The Hokies were #4 in total defense in 2004, #1 in 2005, #1 in 2006, and #4 again in 2007. When your defense is that