Biggest Questions for 2015, #2: Mike Linebacker

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Mike linebacker is one of the biggest question marks on the Virginia Tech defense this year. It’s perhaps the only big question mark, now that I think about it. The Hokies have major depth issues there, and even the starter can be considered questionable. Both of those issues come from not recruiting enough bodies at the position, as well as one bad luck injury.

By my count, these are the mike linebacker prospects that Virginia Tech has signed over the last five recruiting classes…

2015: Carson Lydon
2014: None
2013: Andrew Motuapuaka
2012: Maybe one, depending on whether you consider Devin Vandyke a mike or backer
2011: None

Any prospects in 2011 would have been r-seniors in 2015, recruits from 2012 would be r-juniors this year, etc. Tech failed to sign a mike linebacker in two of those five recruiting classes, and arguably a third. I do believe that Devin Vandyke — who had to give up football due to injuries — would be Virginia Tech’s starting mike right now had he not gotten hurt, and that part of it is just bad luck.

What isn’t bad luck is that the Hokies failed to sign a mike in 2014 despite knowing that there was a very good chance that Vandyke would never be the same player again, and in fact might not be able to play again. Tech signed three mikes in five years, and you always have to assume that attrition is coming, which means that 1-2 of those mikes probably won’t work out. That was simply bad planning. Tech needs to take a true mike linebacker.

In hindsight, the failure to sign a mike linebacker prospect in 2014 has crippled VT’s depth at this important positions. I like Carson Lydon a lot and I believe he’s going to be a very good player. He’s not ready right now though. That was obvious in the spring. Still, he’s going to have to play as a true freshman. Can you name me the last VT mike to play as a true freshman? I can’t. I think it was pre-1993. It’s an almost impossible position to play as a true freshman because of what it requires mentally. Jake Houseright played as a true freshman in 1998, but he didn’t play mike that year…he was a fullback.

Tech also failed to recruit a mike in