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Tech has Faced Great Players in 2009
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #412, December 18, 2009
Virginia Tech has played perhaps more college superstars this year than ever before. From the Alabama game through the bowl game, the Hokies faced a plethora of future NFL talent, but managed to post a 9-3 record, and have a chance for a sixth straight 10-win season.
Tech faced, or will face, 13 of Todd McShay's Top 100 NFL Draft prospects during the 2009 season. This includes seven of the top 30, which equates to seven first round draft picks. The Hokies had to go up against three of the top seven prospects in the country, and they'll face McShay's #1 overall prospect in the bowl game.
That doesn't count Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, because sophomores aren't included on the list.
Here's a look at the stars
Tech has played against this year, or will play against in the bowl game.
Which one of those players was the best the Hokies faced this year? Probably Ndamukong Suh. Nebraska's entire defensive scheme was based on Suh controlling the middle of the Tech offensive line almost single handedly, and it worked out. Well, it almost worked out. The Hokies pulled out a miraculous win in the fourth quarter, but Suh dominated the game. He had eight tackles, half-a-sack and batted down four passes at the line of scrimmage.
Georgia Tech defense end Derrick Morgan, possibly the best player in the country at his position, also dominated the Hokies. Virginia Tech tried to block Morgan one-on-one, and he made the VT offense pay in the first half. He had a tackle for loss and a sack, but his numbers don't reveal the impact he had on that game.
Bruce Carter was arguably the most impressive linebacker Tech faced this year. Carter is so athletic that he was used as a spy on quarterback Tyrod Taylor, and Taylor wasn't able to escape his grasp very often.
Tech faced other great players, such as Rolando McClain, Bruce Campbell and Jonathan Dwyer. They will face three more in the Chick-fil-A Bowl: Eric Berry, Dan Williams and Montario Hardesty.
Eric Berry won the Thorpe Award for best defensive back in the country, and he will go off the board very early in the NFL Draft. Defensive tackle Dan Williams could go as high as the late first round, and tailback Montario Hardesty could go late on day one or early in day two.
Who did the Hokies bring to play against all of this talent? Only one player in McShay's Top 100. That's Kam Chancellor, who barely made the list at #93. Ryan Williams isn't old enough to enter the NFL Draft, otherwise he'd be on that list too. However, it's not like Tech was overflowing with NFL upperclassmen this year.
It was an entertaining
season of Tech football, not only because the Hokies were fun to watch, but
because they faced such top-tier talent.
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