Tae Daley (S, #3) had a wild ride at Vanderbilt. A hard-hitting safety out of high school, he arrived at Vandy and showed he wasn’t afraid of contact at the collegiate level…when he took a bullet during an ill-conceived attempt to retrieve a teammate’s stolen cellphone. He played some corner before returning to his more comfortable spot at safety in 2018, where he started eight games and seemed to play his best against SEC competition.
He looked to be turning into a playmaker, as he led the team in picks and was one of the top tacklers. Then he went into reverse in 2019, with an early season lowlight against LSU that included three missed tackles/fits that either went for scores or got LSU into the red zone…in just the first quarter. It seems he was basically benched for the following game, but eventually earned some starts back, though he never peaked like he did in 2018.
He never played in 2020, as Daley opted to sit out the season before the first game. Vandy rotated their safeties often, to the point where they almost had four guys getting reps evenly at the spot (they had “Goons” and “Goblins” platoons), and it looked to be the same in 2020 before Daley left. There’s no background that I can find on why he left. Getting passed is the easy answer, but last season was…unusual. He’s quiet on social media (his Twitter header still says he plays for Vanderbilt), and there was almost zero press about him leaving.
The Hokies likely know Daley from Darryl Tapp’s year in Nashville. If so, Tapp must think the 2018 Daley is the real deal; otherwise, I can’t see a guy getting a spot after a bad...
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