Risers and Fallers: Defense

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Today we’ll take a look at the risers and fallers of the spring on the defensive side of the ball. Hint: it was really difficult to find any fallers on defense. Everyone seemed to steadily improve across the board, and if anyone gave any ground, it was due to injuries.

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Defensive Line

Virginia Tech got very good defensive line play from their starters this spring, and it’s tough to pick between a couple of guys as the “riser.” I’m going with Ken Ekanem (6-3, 245, r-So.), who locked down a starting spot at defensive end after being banged up his first two seasons in Blacksburg.

Ekanem was a highly-touted recruit with offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oregon, etc. However, he tore his ACL as a senior, took a redshirt year, and then suffered through hamstring injuries as a r-freshman. It wasn’t clear that he still possessed the athleticism and fluidity to start at the ACC level, but he answered that question with a resounding yes this past spring. He is a definite starter in 2014, and he separated himself from the pack.

Just by virtue of his absence due to injury, Woody Baron (6-1, 264, So.) will have some work to do at defensive tackle. Wade Hansen (6-6, 291, r-Jr.) did a nice job this spring, and he looks like he’ll be able to provide depth along with Nigel Williams (6-2, 289, r-So.). True freshman Vinny Mihota is also up to about 260, according to Charley Wiles on BeamerBall.com, and he actually ended the spring in a tie with Wade Hansen. Baron was in the two-deep last season, but he missed the entire spring, and he’ll have some competition when he returns.

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