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Virginia Tech football: 17 days til kickoff as we celebrate Kam Chancellor

Chancellor was one of the best defensive players in the NFL over the last decade.

FedEx Orange Bowl: Cincinnati Bearcats v Virginia Tech Hokies
Kam Chancellor with an interception against Cincinnati in the 2009 Orange Bowl
Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images

Today is August 14, 2019, which means we are officially just 17 days away from the Virginia Tech Hokies opening the college football season at Boston College. This is part three of our countdown for No. 17 as earlier today we have celebrated both Shayne Graham and Kyle Fuller. This evening, we honor Kam Chancellor.

Chancellor arrived at Virginia Tech in 2006 as a two-star prospect from Maury High in Norfolk. Chancellor, a big, athletic quarterback in high school, was actually ranked as the 740th overall player in the class of 2006.

Instead of redshirting, Bud Foster saw something special in Chancellor. As a true freshman in 2006, Chancellor played cornerback. At 6’4” and a lean 210 pounds, Chancellor had intimidating size for a cornerback. He played in all 13 games, making 13 tackles and one interception. He also proved to be an outstanding player on special teams.

As a sophomore in 2007, Foster moved Chancellor to the all-important rover position on Tech’s defense. His ability in coverage, combined with his physicality, made him an ideal rover. Chancellor started all 14 games for the Hokies that season, finished fourth on the team in tackles with 79, including one for loss and picked off a pass. Chancellor was also named as the recipient of the President’s Award, given to the player who demonstrated outstanding leadership in the offseason.

Foster had Chancellor on the move again in 2008. As great as Chancellor was at rover, Foster wanted to give him more responsibilities in the passing game by moving him over to free safety. After all, Chancellor’s idol was Sean Taylor and with his size, he looked a bit like Taylor roaming the defensive backfield. Chancellor started all 14 games for the Hokies, finished with 52 tackles and two interceptions.

In Chancellor’s senior season of 2009, he again started all 13 games for the Hokies. He finished third on the team with 68 tackles, including three for loss and picked off two passes.

So for his career at Virginia Tech, Chancellor never missed a game and started every game for three consecutive games. Every time he switched positions, he did it with ease. And he was a big part of two different Virginia Tech teams that won ACC championships.

Chancellor would become a fifth-round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft. While that was certainly disappointing for a player who seemed primed to be a much higher pick at one point, Chancellor could not have went to a better place than Seattle. He, along with Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas would form the Legion of Boom, which was the NFL’s best secondary over the last decade.

Chancellor’s accomplishments in the NFL were numerous. He was a key cog in the Seattle team that won Super Bowl XLVIII, he was also a four-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All Pro. Unfortunately, a neck injury ended Chancellor’s NFL career after the 2018 season. But Chancellor still had a tremendous nine-year NFL career where he finished with over 600 tackles and 19 interceptions. He was also the NFL’s most physical defensive back over the last decade.

What’s your favorite Chancellor memories, Hokies?