Update: He's going pro. New post coming soon. Disregard everything below. Well, most of it.
I'm a big fan of The Clash, so the theme song for this post is pretty obvious.
The 2010 Virginia Tech Depth Chart Debates will kick into high gear beginning tomorrow morning. But there's one position that's going to have to wait before we start dissecting it thoroughly. Defensive end will be Virginia Tech's most important position for the next week because Jason Worilds has until Jan. 15 to decide if he wants to skip his senior season and enter the draft.
Worilds has tallied 15 sacks in his first three seasons at Virginia Tech. After first saying he would not leave early, now he's mulling over whether to return to Blacksburg for his senior year or jump to the riches of the NFL. To be honest, he's probably ready for the next level. I think he's ready and there's not much left for him to prove a the collegiate level. But as a Hokie fan I have to hope that he'll come back because he's the linchpin of what could be a very good defense next season. However, without him the success of next year's defense becomes questionable.
Our defense's outlook for 2010 all depends on Worilds. If he comes back, then this is a strong unit. If he doesn't and the two starters are the former tight end Chris Drager and the unproven Steven Friday, then things get very dicey.
Virginia Tech's defense thrives on getting pressure on the quarterback. It's what allows it to favor the run and leave the boundary cornerback on an island. When there's no pressure, quarterbacks can take advantage of the Hokies, especially downfield. And the reason that hasn't happened very often since 2004 is because Tech has had a string of excellent college defensive ends.
If Worilds leaves, the Hokies would be stuck with no returning starters at defensive end for the first time since 2004 when Darryl Tapp and Jim Davis took over for the departed Cols Colas and Nathaniel Adibi. But the Hokies didn't suffer because Tapp was a special talent and Davis was a senior who had redshirted the previous season with a torn pectoral muscle.
The line of succession the Hokies have had since then has led to sacks and bad decision by quarterbacks that have been a hallmark of Bud Foster's defenses. Without Worilds, the line is broken and the Hokies will pretty much have to start all over.
We really don't know much about Drager and Friday and they haven't done enough in what little time on the field they've seen to distinguish themselves. Tyrel Wilson could be the next great college pass rusher at Tech, but he'll only be a redshirt freshman next season. So without the reliable Worilds, the 2010 campaign could be an uphill battle for the Virginia Tech defense. The Hokies would then be without their three best pass rushers from 2009 since Nekos Brown (who led the team in sacks) and Cody Grimm have exhausted their eligibility. Without Worilds I just don't know where the quarterback pressure will come from on the Hokies' defense.
Should Worilds decide to return, I'll be very confident about the Tech defense next season. But if he heads to the draft, it will be a very interesting offseason trying to find his replacement.