The Virginia Tech Friday Q&A: Linebackers Through The Eras, Talent Level & More

Virginia Tech
Former Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds would be a good fit in any scheme. (Ivan Morozov)

1) If you could pick any three linebackers in Virginia Tech history to man the positions in Pry’s defense who would they be?  There are some pretty good names and fits out there. – 2hhoop3

Chris Coleman: It seems like all the linebackers that Brent Pry is targeting in the 2023 class are 6-3 or taller. I don’t know if that’s a coincidence or if there’s a template.

It’s possible that it’s a goal to try and get guys with taller frames who are more projectable after a couple of years in the weight room. That’s a lot easier path for Virginia Tech than recruiting linebackers who are already physically developed when they enroll, because all of the major programs want guys like that. Thus, by targeting 6-3, three-star recruits who may only be in the 200-205 range, if he works hard in the weight room, then you’ve got a 6-3, 230-lbs linebacker in two years. He’s the same as the 5-star recruit; it just took him a couple of years longer to reach the same weight.

That said, Pry’s linebackers at Penn State varied between 6-1 and 6-5, so I don’t think he’ll be married to a specific template. At the same time, I don’t think he’ll be recruiting any 5-11 linebackers.

Virginia Tech has had some really good linebackers who I believe would be great fits for Pry. They’ve also had some really good linebackers who I don’t think would necessarily be great fits in the Pry scheme in a modern defense. Here are my picks…

Will: Ben Taylor. I went with Taylor by a nose over Xavier Adibi, as I feel he was a bit more physical against the run for the entirety of his career. That’s splitting hairs, though.

Mike: Vince Hall. Though he’s only 6-0 and Tremaine Edmunds would be a better fit in terms of pass coverage, Hall is the best run stopper I have ever seen in a Virginia Tech uniform. Thus, he’d be my pick at Mike.

Sam: Tremaine Edmunds. I’d move Edmunds to the Sam spot. In fact, he’s probably the type who could play all three positions. I really wanted to put James Anderson here, and he proved in college that he could play this role, but I went with the first round talent instead. You can’t go wrong either way.

One other option would be to put Edmunds at Mike and then start James Anderson at the Sam spot. That would make the Hokies better in coverage and give them a more athletic defense overall. But then Vince Hall may hit the transfer portal due to lack of playing time, and we can’t have that!

But let’s not stop there. Let’s go with the two-deep. Here are my backups at each position…

Will: Xavier Adibi. As I said, Adibi is a close second behind Taylor for me.

Mike: Bruce Taylor. Sort of an off-the-wall pick, but he’s got the right blend of size, length and athleticism in coverage that Pry looks for in a Mike.

Sam: James Anderson. Duh.

The 1999 linebackers, Michael Hawkes and Jamel Smith, were excellent players. However, I don’t know if either one of them ran well enough to be considered great fits for a Pry scheme against a modern offense that puts a lot of stress on linebackers in coverage. Before 1999, I really don’t remember any of those players well enough to know their specific strengths and weaknesses, so I can’t really consider them. I also believe that Pry would play Cody Grimm at safety, which is the position he played for Tampa Bay in the NFL, so I didn’t include him in my thinking.

Virginia</a></figure>...<div class=

Subscribe to read full story

Tired of low effort articles and clickbait? So are we. Subscribe to read great articles written by a full-time staff with decades of experience.