For the rest of the off-season, I’m going to focus on some players I haven’t talked much about this year who are going to be important pieces to Tech’s 2019 season. We’ll use last year’s win over UVA as our sample material.
Let’s start with defense. Rayshard Ashby might’ve been the most consistent defender on the Hokies’ defense from start to finish, yet he wasn’t even the most-talked about inside linebacker on the team. Looking at Pro Football Focus’ stats, Ashby only had eight missed tackles on the year, and only a couple after the first few weeks of play. Compare that to Miami of Ohio’s Brad Koenig (PFF’s second-highest graded ILB) who had twenty-one misses on the year. Those stats aren’t too surprising – Ashby was a tackling machine in high school, to the point where we could repurpose Buddy Ryan’s infamous quote on Cris Carter: “All he does is make tackles.”
He’s a throwback linebacker, a business-like run-stuffer. It seems like he’s always where he needs to be, and he’s sharp about getting the defense aligned correctly. He doesn’t have NFL size or long speed, but he’s trustworthy against the pass in a defensive scheme that caters to his strengths, and his recognition...
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