Today is July 7, 2019, which means we are officially just 55 days away from the Virginia Tech Hokies opening the college football season at Boston College. Yesterday, we profiled one of the best players in Virginia Tech history: Corey Moore.
For No. 55, we take a look back at another outstanding defensive end in Darryl Tapp. Tapp arrived in Blacksburg in 2002 as a three-star defensive end out of Deep Creek High in Chesapeake. He was friends and teammates with another former Hokie, DeAngelo Hall, from grade school through their time in Blacksburg.
Tapp would see the field as a true freshman in 2002. Like most freshmen, Tapp played primarily on special teams. He impressed due to his athleticism and hustle. That hustle paid off in the win over Virginia when Justin Hamilton blocked a punt and Tapp scooped it up and returned it for a touchdown. For the season, Tapp would finish with 21 total tackles and three quarterback pressures.
As a sophomore in 2003, Tapp would see his role increase. He would finish the season with 58 tackles, including nine for loss, three sacks and a forced fumble. In the spring, Tapp’s strength was on display in the weight room, as he would set a defensive end record with a 660-pound back squat. He would also have a 415-pound bench press.
The Hokies moved to the ACC in 2004 and won the conference in their first season. Offensively, the Hokies we led by Bryan Randall while the defense featured Tapp, Mikal Baaqee, Jim Davis, Jimmy Williams and a host of talented players at all three levels. Tapp would have an outstanding season, starting every game and had 60 tackles, 16.5 for loss, 8.5 sacks, 23 hurries, an interception and a blocked kick. He was rewarded with a spot on the first-team All-ACC squad.
Biggest Hits Collection #5: Darryl Tapp knocks Kyle Wright into next week vs Miami in 2005 (yes, this was flagged as a penalty but it was a clean hit) pic.twitter.com/UkX4o0SupF— Treadmill Horse (@treadmillhorse) July 3, 2019
In Tapp’s senior season of 2005, he followed it up with another terrific campaign. He again started every game, finishing with 48 tackles, 14.5 for loss and 10 sacks. Once again, Tapp was a member of the first-team All-ACC team.
Tapp would be eligible for the 2006 NFL Draft where he would be a second-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks. He would spend four years with the Seahawks before being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles where he would spend the next three seasons of his career. He would sign with the Washington Redskins in 2013, reuniting with Hall, and spent one season there. In 2014, he signed with the Detroit Lions where he spent two seasons. In 2016, he signed with the New Orleans Saints where he spent all of 2016 and was released before Week 1. He was picked up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for that season, which ended up being his last in the NFL.
Tapp was not only an outstanding collegiate player, he had a solid 12-year NFL career. If anyone plays in the NFL for 12 years, that is a heckuva career. Tapp was a high-character, high-energy player who remained productive throughout his career because he worked hard and took care of himself. He was a terrific leader who contributed to teams in a multitude of ways. For his NFL career, he ended up playing in 165 games, making 331 tackles, 60 for loss, 29 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, two interceptions and one touchdown.
Tapp earned his rightful spot in the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 2018. He spent the 2018 season as a defensive quality control coach with Central Michigan. In March, Tapp signed on with Vanderbilt as a quality control coach for special teams. If we learned anything about Tapp over the years it is he excels in everything he does. I would expect that to continue with his coaching career, too.