With the Virginia Tech football season starting in about a month in some form or another, it’s time to take a deeper look into Virginia Tech’s roster for the upcoming year. Over the next few weeks, we will be delving into the team, position by position, to get a deeper understanding of where we stand as a football team. I will grade every player on the roster on a 1-10 scale and create a makeshift depth chart for the season (Note: These grades are simply my opinions on each player based on prior knowledge, statistics and film study).
10 - Heisman Candidate
9 - All American
8 - All ACC
7 - Starter
6 - Backup
5 and Below - Not likely to play
OT Christian Darrisaw - 7.8/10
Darrisaw is definitely the best lineman on the team and has proven that over the past two years, with 25 starts over that span. He has the requisite athleticism to hold up in pass protection, the strength to be a mauler in the run game and very good technique for such a young player. If he continues to anchor the offensive line with the consistency he has shown the past few years, Darrisaw should be drawing the eyes of NFL scouts very soon.
OG Doug Nester - 7.7/10
An All-American in high school, Nester came in as a true freshman last season and almost immediately began dominating competition. An 11-game starter, Nester brings good size to the position and is one of the best run blockers on the team. His ceiling may be an eventual All-American in college and his development figures to be a key factor in determining whether this offensive line will be good or great.
OC Bryan Hudson - 7.4/10
Hudson, also a true freshman last season, was a highly touted prospect out of high school and a very good player for the Hokies last season. After starting center Zachariah Hoyt got injured early in the season, Hudson stepped in and solidified the position, making 10 starts. His best trait is his athleticism as a center. On tape he looks faster than most linebackers, which is key in the run game. He and Nester are both the present and the future of this Virginia Tech offensive line.
OT Silas Dzansi - 7.1/10
Dzansi brings somewhat of a veteran presence to a young offensive line. That experience should give him an upper hand in winning the starting right tackle job. He’s started 12 games over the past two years but has had injury issues that have held him back. If he can stay healthy, his size alone should make him a solid player on the right side.
OG Lecitus Smith - 7.0/10
Continuing a trend of athletic offensive lineman, Smith, a high school tight end, figures to be the fifth starter on this year's unit. He brings elite speed to the unit, and he started 12 games last season. Smith is still a bit raw at the position and can make mistakes, but his athletic upside should be important to this team’s success.
OG Brock Hoffman - 7.0/10
A big-name transfer from Coastal Carolina last season, many Hokie fans were excited to see Hoffman suit up in the maroon and orange last season. However, NCAA eligibility issues kept him off the field in his first year in Blacksburg. Hoffman brings the requisite size and athleticism to the position, along with a nasty streak that is key for any offensive lineman. However, his technique leaves a lot to be desired. If he cleaned up his game in his year off, Hoffman has a chance to battle for a starting job and be a key part of Virginia Tech’s offensive line this season.
OT Tyrell Smith - 7.0/10
Smith, a graduate student, brings veteran experience to a young offensive line, playing in 44 games over the last four seasons. His leadership will be key in developing the young players, even if he doesn’t see the field much.
OT Walker Culver - 7.0/10
Culver brings more size and athletic upside to a tackle room already full of it. He was a good prospect out of high school but hasn’t seen the field much in his first few years. However, if Dzansi misses time again, Culver’s athleticism may make him the next man up at right tackle.
OC Zachariah Hoyt - 6.9/10
Hoyt, a longtime Hokie, has been a consistent presence throughout his time as at Virginia Tech. Unfortunately, after winning the starting center job in 2018 and making one start in 2019, Hoyt got injured against Boston College and lost the starting gig. If Bryan Hudson does struggle or get hurt in 2020, Hoyt should be a stabilizing presence in his final year in Blacksburg.
OT Luke Tenuta - 6.9/10
Tenuta stepped in as the starter last season after Dzansi went down and struggled at times. The behemoth of a tackle brings great size to the position but needs some more development before he can become a key piece on the unit.
OG Jesse Hanson - 6.8/10
Hanson brings a lot of size and strength to the guard position in a similar way to Brock Hoffman. A very good player coming out of high school, Hanson figures to be the heir apparent to Lecitus Smith in a few years.
OT T.J. Jackson - 6.5/10
A redshirt senior, Jackson brings elite size and experience to the Virginia Tech team. He should be a fixture on special teams units and a good presence in the locker room.
OT Parker Clements - 6.4/10
Clements, an early enrollee, brings height and technique to the position. He’ll have to put on some weight to play at a high level in the ACC, but he could be a big time player for the Hokies down the road.
OC Austin Cannon - 5.5/10
Cannon started two games last season after Hoyt went down and did not play well. He’s at the back end of the center rotation, but if he does end up playing this season he at least has some experience starting.