Hokies are Deep and Talented Up Front

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Every year there is an assistant coach with a good reason to be excited for the upcoming season.  Except for perhaps Mike O’Cain or Bud Foster, I doubt there is a coach on the staff who is more excited about 2012 than defensive line coach Charley Wiles.

Wiles is excited because he returns at least his top four players at defensive end, and at least his top four players at defensive tackle.  It’s not like these guys are run of the mill players either.  They helped the Hokies finish 14th nationally against the run and 12th in the country in sacks, and they were all sophomores and freshmen.

J.R. Collins and Derrick Hopkins

There are so many good, young defensive linemen in the program that rising seniors Isaiah Hamlette, Dwight Tucker and Courtney Prince decided to transfer or give up football.  It’s not like those guys were bad players.  They weren’t great.  They were, overall, average college players who helped Tech at some point during their respective careers (and all three graduated in December or will graduate in May).  But they saw the writing on the wall, and they all knew that they weren’t going to play over the younger guys in 2012.

Tech’s depth on the defensive line might also cause a position change.  It’s been rumored that rising r-sophomore defensive end Duan Perez-Means might be making the move to tight end this season, where the Hokies really have depth problems.  If that happens, it’s good for all parties.  It helps Perez-Means get on the field, it helps depth at tight end, and it gets the younger guys at defensive end even more reps, which speeds up their growth process.

This article will operate under the assumption that Perez-Means will indeed move to tight end in the spring.  If he doesn’t, then he’s just another guy with experience for Charley Wiles to use.

Another thing I’m