Virginia Tech Position Review and Look-Ahead: Linebacker

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Rayshard Ashby showed a lot of promise as a sophomore in 2018. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

Virginia Tech put a lot of youth on the field at most positions on defense in 2018, and the results were not good for the most part.  The one exception came at linebacker, where Rayshard Ashby generally played well at mike, and Dax Hollifield showed plenty of promise at the backer position.

Today we’ll use Pro Football Focus to take a look at the 2018 performance of Tech’s mikes and backers, and then we’ll project ahead to 2019.


True sophomore Rayshard Ashby manned the mike spot for the Hokies this past season, and he did very well considering his age and the lack of penetration by the defensive linemen in front of him. Here are his Pro Football Focus (PFF) grades for the season…

Rayshard Ashby

Overall: 75.6
Run: 66.1
Pass Rush: 66.6
Coverage: 80.3

I think that grade against the run would be a little bit higher if he had the luxury of playing behind a healthy Ricky Walker, not to mention Tim Settle and the rest of the 2017 defensive line.

Ashby missed two games due to injury, but Rico Kearney (who has transferred to UCF) filled in pretty