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Virginia Tech Hokies 2016 Roster Preview - Defensive Backs

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The Virginia Tech Hokie defensive backfield is good at the top, but thin. Looking at the #DBU personnel and wondering if the tissue paper will hold.

Going to be Busy in the Defensive Backfield this season
Going to be Busy in the Defensive Backfield this season
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

There are somethings that offer reasons to be concerned, and then can be dismissed like milkweed fluff blowing on a Spring breeze.  Then there are those "things" that worry the tar out of you; and you have good reason to be.

The Virginia Tech Defensive Back roster situation for 2016 is largely intact from last season.  With the reinstatement of Adonis Alexander (though any continued discipline or limitations are a matter of internal Virginia Tech Athletic Department action).  There will only be two Seniors with playing experience on the squad.  There have been some recent roster additions that will hopefully add some depth.

Again, we see a good starting depth profile, but positions in the 2 and 3 boxes of the chart become more of the "/" move overs from some other position from a 2 or 3.  So let's take a look at the players who are both experienced and likely to start at each position.

Chuck Clark -€” true Senior, has been listed as a Defensive Back, which means that he might be playing anywhere.  In his three full seasons Chuck has played every DB position on the field at some time or another.  He is a real leader for the defense.  He started every game last season, and by the end had racked up 107 total tackles with a sack in the mix, and an interception to but some icing on the cake.   His tackling and cover skills made him critical to Coach Foster's adjustments to the lack of linebacker depth for the prior two seasons.  Look for him to be a major factor again this season.

Next up are the two season players who bring some interesting skill sets to the mix, and will be challenged to step up in a major way this season.

Brandon Facyson -€” redshirt Junior, (Cornerback) Brandon really stepped it up last season.  He seems to have gotten over that scary and unfortunate bout of leg problems and surgery and finished up 2015 with 10 starts, and 20 solo tackles.  Let's hope he gets his full 2013 form back and grabs a few more picks this season.  Facyson will undoubtedly be the critical shutdown corner for the team this season with Kendall Fuller playing for the Redskins, not the Hokies.

Greg Stroman -€” true Junior, (Cornerback) Stroman has yet to find an actual position on the field.  He's been shifted back and forth between offense, defense, and return duties.  Last season Greg seemed to settle into the defensive backfield.  He has also been the primary punt returner for the team for the last two seasons.  With a new position coach, and some new stability look for Stroman's talents to gain some notice.

Der'Woun Greene -€” redshirt Senior, (Free Safety) Der'Woun is another of the experienced players who have not been star starters, but have contributed solidly on both defense and Special Teams.  Greene has spent most of his playing time on the Pride and Joy squad.  The Hokies will be looking for him to gear up and spend more time on defense this season.

The last group of players in potential starting and heavy playing roles are some young people whose names we just began to see last season,

Adonis Alexander -€” true Sophomore, (Cornerback) There isn't much more to say about Alexander than his personal loss of judgement at the end of last season almost wrecked the starting defensive scheme for this season.  Alexander can play both Free Safety, and Cornerback, for which he is listed to perform duties this season.   Last year, Alexander came from the bench as a true Freshman to wow Hokie nation with a standout performance including four interceptions (some of which were acrobatic feats).  Adonis needs to build on that great start; first by following the new coaching staff's mentoring.

Mook Reynolds -- true Sophomore, (Free Safety) Reynolds played all 13 games last season.  His experience at Free Safety will be doubly needed this season as the safeties will undoubtedly be supplementing the linebackers as the season progresses.

Jahque Alleyne -- true Sophomore, (Free Safety) Jahque played in 12 games last season on Special Teams.  Look for that experience to be used in both Special Teams and some more field time at defense.

Terrell Edmunds -€” redshirt Sophomore, (Rover/Whip) We have already talked about Terrell Edmunds in the Linebacker review.  It's very important to note that within the prior seasons' defensive schemes and adjustments that a Strong Safety who could switch between a Rover technique (Strong Safety) and a (Whip -€” Will Linebacker) on the fly as the play demanded proved invaluable.  His skill at the position improved over the entire course of the 2015 season.  It is going to be interesting to see how the coaching staff uses his talents this season.  It is also really important to note that the Rover position is only two players deep and there will be some shifting to lend it depth.

The remainder of the Defensive back roster will probably be challenged in some way or another.  The number of injuries over the last several seasons, to key personnel, is still a bitter taste that must be dealt with this season.  There are more than a few players from the bench who might see playing time.  There might even be a redshirt or two burned to complete three deep rosters for game time.  Khalil Ladler and Jovonn Quillen could actually see a move to the active roster instead of the traditional redshirt year.

2016 Virginia Tech Hokie Defensive Back Roster:

No.

Name

Exp.

Pos.

Height

Weight

Class

19

Chuck Clark

3

DB

6' 1"

204

Sr.

35

Erikk Banks

-

CB

5' 10"

173

r-Jr.

31

Brandon Facyson

2

CB

6' 2"

191

r-Jr.

28

Curtis Williams

-

CB

5' 9"

167

r-Jr.

17

Henri Murphy

-

CB

5' 10"

175

Jr.

3

Greg Stroman

2

DB

6' 1"

170

Jr.

42

Elisha Boyd

-

CB

6' 0"

175

r-So.

27

Shawn Payne

-

CB

6' 3"

185

So.

36

Adonis Alexander

1

CB

6' 3"

193

So.

39

Tyrone Thornton

-

DB

5' 9"

193

r-Fr.

29

DuWayne Johnson

-

CB

6' 2"

180

r-Fr.

9

Khalil Ladler

-

CB

5' 11"

178

Fr.

21

Reggie Floyd

-

DB

6' 0"

200

Fr.

26

Jovonn Quillen

-

DB

6' 2"

195

Fr.

2

Tyree Rodgers

-

DB

6' 1"

180

Fr.

23

Der'Woun Greene

2

FS

5' 11"

194

r-Sr.

6

Mook Reynolds

1

FS

6' 1"

184

So.

17

Jahque Alleyne

1

FS

6' 1"

175

So.

38

Alden Carpenter

-

ROV

6' 0"

189

r-Jr.

22

Terrell Edmunds

1

ROV

6' 1"

201

r-So.

The overall impression of the defensive five (Nickel) backfield looks like we have the following:

Cornerback

Free Safety

Strong Safety/Rover

Cornerback

Whip/Rover

Adonis Alexander

Reynolds

Clark

Facyson

Terrell Edmunds

Stroman

Greene/Reynolds

Carpenter

Ladler/Quillen

Reynolds/Greene

There just is not a particularly deep chart, here.  Once we get past the starting five positions, the backups begin to move toward true Freshmen, inexperienced bench players, and Special Teams players.  The defensive backfield is basically 1 and a half positions deep, and once again, a key injury will be extremely disruptive.

#DBU looks like it might be taking a bit of a performance hit, until the experience levels out the playing field again.

Special Teams are up next, with the conclusion as we get ready to head into Fall practices.

GO HOKIES!!!