Post-Spring defensive roundtable: Part 1

1) Is the field corner job Donaldven Manning ’s to lose until Antone Exum comes back?

Donaldven Manning

GMSAHokie: I believe so. Manning’s only real competition for the position this spring was fellow sophomore Donovan Riley , who actually supplanted Manning as the top backup at the position last year. Riley and Manning both struggled when asked to turn and cover speedy wideouts in 1-on-1 man situations last year, and even though Riley finished ahead of Manning on the depth chart, I’m not sure he was actually better. This spring I thought Manning looked much better in coverage and seems to understand the defense quite a bit better. Hopefully his development at the position will free up the coaches to implement all of their coverage packages.

Riley is a talented guy, but I think he will most likely be a safety in Tech’s defense. He’s a good athlete, but he doesn’t look as fluid in the hips as he needs to be in order to play corner. Not a knock on Riley, as I believe he will be in the mix to back up Detrick Bonner (r-Jr.) at free safety once Kendall Fuller arrives on campus.

I also saw that Gray was pleased with the way Davion Tookes (r-Fr.) finished the spring, so I would look for him to compete with Manning next fall and for Riley to possibly switch to safety if Kendall Fuller can come in and compete for playing time right away. If Tookes regresses or if Fuller needs a redshirt, then Riley can provide additional depth at field corner. Good problem to have.