Spring Football: Tech Has Options Up Front

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Charley Wiles has a lot of talent returning on the defensive line this year.  The big guys up front will be the anchor of what should be a very good Virginia Tech defense.

First of all, heights and weights have not been updated on HokieSports.com.  For young defensive linemen, weight increase is very important.  All we have to go on is the interview Charley Wiles did with Andy Bitter several weeks ago in which he gave a weight update on a couple of r-freshman.  For this article we’ll use the HokieSports.com listed weight for all players except for Dadi Nicholas and Justin Taylor .

Tech has four defensive ends and three defensive tackles who have seen significant snaps in college games.  A fourth defensive tackle, Antoine Hopkins , won’t participate in spring drills because he is coming off a torn ACL.  He will be ready to go this summer, however.

Defensive Ends

James Gayle

Virginia Tech returns two of the best defensive ends in the ACC in James Gayle (6-4, 257, r-Jr.) and J.R. Collins (6-2, 240, r-Jr.).  In just two seasons of playing football, they have both put up big numbers.  Collins has 16 tackles for loss and 11 sacks, and Gayle has 19 tackles for loss and 11 sacks, despite missing basically three full games a year ago.  Those are big numbers for two guys who have seen the field for just two seasons.

Both guys play with a bit of an edge on the field, and Gayle in particular gets really fired up against UVA.  Go back and watch the tape of that game and you’ll