We continue our spring grades with a look at the defense. Again, remember that I tend to be a tough grader.
Kam Chancellor - Sr. - FS: A
Kam has kept rolling since last year's Orange Bowl. Not only did he grab a couple of interceptions during the early scrimmages, he laid a wicked hit on Zac Evans to force a fumble in the spring game that was returned for a touchdown.
Kam gained fame as a hard hitter during his sophomore year at rover. However, we didn't see many of those hits as he adjusted to quarterbacking the defense last year as he adjusted to free safety. Hopefully the old Kam is back.
Taco Thompson - Sr. - DT: C
Thompson is the veteran of a very thin defensive tackle unit. However, you didn't hear a lot from him this spring and he assisted on one tackle in the spring game. He was outshined by younger players like Antoine Hopkins, who had a ridiculous spring game.
Tech needs Thompson to have a better fall. The emergence of Hopkins is a bright spot, but we need more depth at defensive tackle. Thompson is assured of being a starter next year, but we need more production out of him.
Jake Johnson - So. - LB: B+
Other than Ryan Williams, was the newcomer Hokie fans wanted to see most. Like Williams, he didn't disappoint and will see a lot of playing time next year. He was a big hitter and will likely start next year alongside Barquell Rivers as the two inside linebackers.
Dorian Porch - Sr. - ROV: C-
Neither Porch nor Davon Morgan were particularly spectacular at rover this spring. Like last year, it will come down to the fall decide who will start next to Kam in the middle of the secondary.
Whoever wins the job will need to play better than they did last year when Kam and the rovers gave up a ton of big plays in the middle of the field. Kam has shown he's ready to have a better 2009. Now one of the robers needs to step up.
John Graves - Jr. - DE: A
Graves moved to end from tackle and was a natural. Along with Nekos Brown and Jason Worilds, the Hokies will again have three good defensive ends to rotate in 2009.
Bud Foster - DC: B+
Bud appears to have found his starting linebackers, but still needs depth at the position. Likewise at defensive tackle. However, cornerback and defensive end have reloaded as we expected. The key to the whole thing will be staying healthy and getting better play from the middle of the secondary.