Virginia Tech Football Scouting Report: Divine Deablo

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Divine Deablo will play a key role for the Hokies this season. (Ivan Morozov)

Besides the best name on the team, what does free safety Divine Deablo (#17) bring to the field? Compared to the consistent, workmanlike play of Rayshard Ashby, Deablo’s play has swung wildly between games. When he’s on, he’s a talented playmaker whose speed and size create matchup problems. When he struggles, the other team breaks big plays.

Like just about every defensive position, free safety has become more of a hybrid spot since the spread-option renaissance. The traditional safety was called so for a reason, since he was the last line of defense due to his deep spot on the field. Back when Tech still played most of its snaps in a 4-4 look, the free safety primarily played a deep centerfield zone or half-field Cover-2 zone on passing downs, and a robber-style match-up look on run downs. On run plays he was basically free to track the ball carrier since there were eight or nine guys in the box to fit off runs.

Things have changed. He’s still often the last guy available to make a play on a runner or receiver, but there’s more going on. On blitzes and Bear fronts, the free safety has to fit off the Mike linebacker almost like a Rover normally would because spread formations

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