Hokies Big Up Front in 2012

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One of my favorite days of the year is when heights and weights get updated.  That happened yesterday, when the players officially reported to Blacksburg for August camp.

In many cases, it’s not all that important, but it’s still fun to run through the roster and see who has gotten bigger, or dropped a few critical pounds.  As I write this, I don’t think every single height and weight has been updated.  For example, Donaldven Manning is still 5-9, 155.  If he’s still 5-9, 155 then he did something wrong over the summer, or he’s just naturally small.  That said, almost all of the players have been updated, and today we’ll go over who stands out and why.

That’s One Big Defensive Line … Actually, it’s One Big Defense

James Gayle

Virginia Tech’s starting defensive line looks like this:

DE James Gayle, 269
DE J.R. Collins, 261
DT Antoine Hopkins, 313
DT Derrick Hopkins, 306

Two 300-lbs guys at defensive tackle, and two ends who top 260.  I don’t think Virginia Tech’s starting defensive line has ever been this big before.

Some of the backups aren’t exactly skinny guys either:

DE Corey Marshall, 267
DE Zack McCray, 256
DT Kris Harley, 282
DT Luther Maddy, 288

Those guys have good size, particularly for backups.  Expect Marshall and McCray to get reps at both defensive end and defensive tackle during the preseason.  I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Marshall start at defensive tackle for the Georgia Tech game.  Last season Bud Foster slid J.R. Collins inside for that game, and Marshall would present the same problems for the Georgia Tech offensive line.