2011 Football Preview: Defensive Line

Experience and depth on the defensive line is Bud Foster’s biggest concern
for the 2011 season. The Hokies have talent up front, but it’s all young talent.
A key injury could do a lot of damage to defensive line depth as well, and Tech
might have to rely on a true freshman or two to fill out the depth chart.

Tech’s defensive line was somewhat piecemeal last season. Chris Drager, a
natural tight end, was a starter at end. Steven Friday, who took five years to
develop, was the other starter. On the inside, Kwamaine Battle tore his ACL
against James Madison, and John Graves wasn’t much of a disruptor.

Charley Wiles will have more talent up front this season, but how productive
will his unit be? Here’s now the depth chart looks.

Defensive Line Depth Chart
Pos. Player Ht. Wt. Yr
End J.R. Collins 6-2 253 r-So.
End Tyrel Wilson 6-1 214 r-So.
End Zack McCray 6-5 248 r-Fr.
End Corey Marshall 6-1 250 Fr.
Stud James Gayle 6-4 251 r-So.
Stud Duan Perez-Means 6-4 252 r-Fr.
DT Derrick Hopkins 6-0 298 So.
DT Antoine Hopkins 6-0 299 r-Jr.
DT Kwamaine Battle 6-0 301 r-Sr.
DT Dwight Tucker 6-1 273 r-Jr.
DT Isaiah Hamlette 6-4 274 r-Jr.
DT Nick Acree 6-5 276 r-Fr.
DT Kris Harley 6-0 290 Fr.
DT Luther Maddy 6-1 282 Fr.

Remember, heights and weights should be updated later this week by Virginia
Tech. Players report back on Wednesday, and practice begins on Thursday, so we
expect the update to come on one of those two days.

Also, true freshmen Corey Marshall and Kris Harley are listed on the depth
chart because I feel like they have a good chance to play this season. Other
true freshmen, who probably won’t play in 2011, will be listed at the end of the

Defensive End

If you saw J.R. Collins and James Gayle play during the spring, then you
probably feel pretty good about Virginia Tech’s starting defensive ends. Gayle
is one of the best athletes to ever play the position at Virginia Tech: 420
bench press, 420 front squat, 366 clean, 341 push jerk, 38 inch vertical and a
4.45 in the 40 yard dash. NFL scouts will drool if Gayle puts up those type of
numbers at the NFL Combine in a couple of years.

Gayle posted six sacks in Tech’s scrimmages, including the Spring Game. J.R.
Collins isn’t as athletic as Gayle, but he’s a very good defensive end in his
own right. He is arguably a more consistent player than Gayle,