Defensive Thoughts: Defensive Line, and Devon Hunter to Nickel

TyJuan Garbutt (pictured here with Justin Fuente last August) has added over 20 pounds since he enrolled. (photo by Ivan Morozov)

Virginia Tech released a new spring roster yesterday, and as usual the first thing I did was look at the updated weights.  In part of today’s article, I want to focus in on the weight changes on the defensive line.  I also want to discuss Devon Hunter playing whip, and Justin Fuente’s comments about some of the older players in his secondary.

Defensive Ends

The Tech coaches confirmed what we all expected: that Vinny Mihota would move inside to defensive tackle for his senior season.  That leaves playing time up for grabs at defensive end.  We know Trevon Hill (r-Jr.) and Houshun Gaines (r-Jr.) are the likely starters, and Emmanuel Belmar (r-So.) saw the field last season as well. 

That leaves four players who redshirted a year ago that we don’t know much about.  First, here’s a look at their weight changes, and after that I’ll have some individual comments on each player.

Zion DeBose (r-Fr.): 244 to 247
TyJuan Garbutt (r-Fr.): 221 to 244
Nathan Proctor (r-Fr.): 224 to 240
Robert Porcher IV (r-Fr.): 262 to 260

DeBose: DeBose was already more physically developed than Garbutt and Proctor.  He had less room to grow on his 6-1 frame.  He’s expected to challenge for a spot in the two-deep this season.

Garbutt: Garbutt added a lot of weight to his 6-1 frame.  All reports indicate that he’s more advanced at this early stage than most people expected.  Like DeBose, he’s expected to challenge for playing time this season.

Proctor: Proctor also added some solid weight since he first enrolled, though he’s considered to be behind DeBose and Garbutt from a development standpoint.  That was expected.  His long-term potential is good, but he entered college as a very raw prospect.

Porcher: The Tech coaches viewed Porcher as an eventual defensive tackle, but I’ve heard that they’ve had trouble convincing him that he should take on that role.  He certainly doesn’t seem like a guy who wants to play defensive tackle, considering his weight has stayed steady since he first enrolled.  The coaches announced yesterday that Porcher will miss spring practice, so his lack of weight gain could also be due to some kind of an injury.

Overall, I feel good with where Tech’s young defensive ends are at this stage.  At least one of those guys will get on the field in a major role as a redshirt-freshman.

Vinny Mihota is up to 284 pounds. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

Defensive Tackle

We know Ricky Walker (r-Sr.) will be very good, and we’re pretty certain that Vinny Mihota (r-Sr.) will do fine.  Jerrod Hewitt (r-So.) held steady at 285 pounds, and the coaching