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Virginia Tech Hokies 2019 Football Roster Review: Defensive Backs

Revisiting painful realities means walking back into the defensive backfield and looking at what has changed/improved since the end of 2018. Let’s look ahead, folks... nothing to see back there. GO HOKIES!!!

Floyd, Diablo and the rest of the secondary covers Dillon
John Schneider - SB Nation

It is time to look ahead on this one. We aren’t going to visit or compare what’s happening with what happened. It’s not fair to the new team, and frankly not particularly instructive. 2018 is a defensive backfield write off, and we need to keep it that way.

#DBU gets a new start for 2019. There are some new faces, and some returning players, but what is really going on is a fresh outlook from a new coach, Justin Hamilton (Safeties) with Brian Mitchell returning to coach the (Cornerbacks). Hamilton is a former Hokie graduate of #DBU and seems to have really made some serious connections with his players, especially the leader of the secondary, Reggie Floyd. Mitchell is a steady hand who has been working with the Corners since 2016. He gets two back from last season (Quillen and Farley) and some good news since Jeremy Webb looks to be in good shape as he steadily works his way back into the upper levels of the depth chart.

Virginia Tech Hokie 2019 Defensive Backs Roster

Number Name Position Height Weight Class Hometown High School Previous School
Number Name Position Height Weight Class Hometown High School Previous School
29 Ishmiel Seisay DB 5-9 194 R-Sr. Springfield, Va. St. Stephen's & St. Agnes Iowa Western CC
21 Reggie Floyd DB 6-0 225 Sr. Manassas, Va. Stonewall Jackson
26 Jovonn Quillen DB 6-0 186 Sr. Hampton, Va. Hampton
17 Divine Deablo DB 6-3 220 R-Jr. Winston-Salem, N.C. Mount Tabor
2 Jeremy Webb DB 6-4 201 R-Jr. East Mims, Fla. Stevenson ASA College
9 Khalil Ladler DB 5-11 189 R-Jr. Stone Mountain, Ga. IMG Academy
18 Tyree Rodgers DB 6-1 178 R-Jr. Camden, N.J. Camden Catholic
3 Caleb Farley DB 6-2 197 R-So. Maiden, N.C. Maiden
7 Devon Hunter DB 6-0 228 R-So. Chesapeake, Va. Indian River
37 Brion Murray DB 5-10 182 So. Milford, DE Milford Coffeyville Community College
22 Chamarri Conner DB 6-0 210 So. Jacksonville, Fla. Trinity Christian Academy
28 Jermaine Waller DB 6-1 175 So. Washington, D.C. Avalon School
27 Armani Chatman DB 5-11 187 R-Fr. Virginia Beach, Va. Bishop Sullivan Catholic
32 Hunter Green DB 6-1 182 R-Fr. Knoxville, Tenn. Webb School
12 Nadir Thompson DB 5-10 186 R-Fr. Rocky Mount, N.C. Southern Nash
31 Nasir Peoples DB 6-0 196 R-Fr. Abington, Pa. Archbishop Wood
30 Tyler Matheny DB 6-1 198 R-Fr. Fairfax, Va. Lake Braddock
19 J.R. Walker DB 6-0 209 Fr. Clayton, N.C. Clayton
32 Ny'Quee Hawkins DB 6-0 190 Fr. Orange, N.J. Orange
Byron Whitehead DB 6-3 197 Fr. Newark, N.J. Shabazz
The Defensive Back Situation is the best in years Data Courtesy of Hokie Sports

The nature of Bud Foster and his flexible positioning of players in the depth chart is what it is. We have seen, season after season, players moved from one position to another, and from Cornerback to Safety and back. It’s also important to remember that one of the five positions being covered by this roster is actually the ‘Will’ linebacker roll which is handled by a Strong Safety (in Foster’s defense the Rover). During more than a few Dime situations (someone asked me if Foster’s defenses were ever “NOT Dimes”) Foster puts in the Second Strong Safety as a Whip. This position is normally a dynamic technique execution by the Rover; but there are occasions when but puts in a Whip instead of a Rover. Either way, the defensive Secondary in the Bud Foster Defense is not for the inexperienced and unknowledgeable.

The defense absolutely depends on players maintaining their discipline, and understanding what coverage is set, and how it can morph as the play unfolds. This season the list of starting quality big name players with experience is actually deep. This defense looks to have better depth and stability. The players also better be very prepared to be challenged. Most coaches are going to head to the film room, and look at what happened in 2018, because nearly all of the names/numbers that they will face, played last season.

We are going to look at this from the perspective of “defensive back”. We’ll note the anticipated position for the player, some are fixed in concrete, but as mentioned, Bud puts you where Bud thinks you are going to contribute the most to the team.

Starting quality defensive backs who are probable 1’s at their position. (Note: given the nature of this roster and the amount of experience, “Starter” probably doesn’t mean a whole lot. So ‘1’s are players who will be there for significant snap time. ‘2’s will be those people backing up the ‘1’s and probably taking a good number of snaps during the season.


Caleb Farley (CB) - this will be his second full season at Cornerback. As he’s gained experience, he’s also looking at more consistency in his play recognition and reaction. Farley is looking for a quality start and a good season.

Jovonn Quillen (CB) - Jovonn is a Senior, and one of the ‘old men’ of the defense... not just the backfield. There aren’t flashy things being tossed about but he’s capable, and looking to make a real stamp on things before he finishes his collegiate football career.

Reggie Floyd (Rover) - Reggie carried the Lunch Pail to Charlotte. He’s another of the few Senior leaders on this team, and along with his experience we are seeing pro projections of high draft choices IF he has a good season. That’s going to be up to Reggie, and judging by what he’s been doing in the Spring and Fall practices, Floyd intends to make his senior season a memorable one.

Divine Deablo (S) - Deablo looks like he’s in good shape, he seems to have recovered from his injuries and as a redshirt-Junior is looking to play a complete season without being slowed down by tweaks, groans, and accidents.

Khalil Ladler (S) - Even though Ladler is one of the “old men” of the secondary he’s a redshirt Junior with a large and significant portfolio of contributions to the team.

Tyree Rodgers (S) - Rodgers played hard last season, forcing fumbles making critical tackles and generally being a serious disruptive factor in the secondary. He’s primed for a real breakout season.


Jeremy Webb (CB) - The only reason to put web into the Number two slot is because of the serious Achilles injuries that he faced, the rehab, and his lack of Division 1 football experience. Webb will have to work his way up to the ‘1’s rotation. Something says that Jeremy Webb is not destined to stay a ‘2’ for too too long.

Devon Hunter (S) - We shall see how Devon picks up his game this season. He’s recommitted to upping his game, and looks to join Webb as a possible jump up to the starting rotation.

Chamarri Conner (S) - He played some serious snaps last season, and is looking at improving his visibility, and game time this season. He’s only a true sophomore, so he’s got lots of time to develop, and move up the depth chart.

Jermaine Waller (CB) - Another true sophomore, Waller is catching some serious attention in Fall camp, as he did in the spring. He’s experienced enough that he is really close to challenging the #1’s (presumed starters) for serious playing time.

Some Threes who are nabbing some mentions from the coaching staff for their work and development. They look like we are going to see them on the field this season in some capacity.

Armani Chatman (CB) is looking for a breakout season as a redshirt freshman. Nadir Thompson (CB) was injured last season after looking really promising as the season started to build. He’s impressing again. Freshman Corner Ny’Quee Hawkins is also attracting more attention. Don’t be surprised if we see him in more than a few situations on the field.

There isn’t much more to say than this list is very much the same as last season, and simultaneously so different. This season the Defensive Back Roster is deep. We have some impressive cover guys combined with impressive backup cover guys, and the Safeties are all experienced, and aggressive.

There is one guarantee that we are certain both coaches have continued to visit with the players... They WILL BE CHALLENGED this season. It will start fast, and get faster. No matter how much we want to look ahead, the teams that we face will look behind, and they will be waiting to take advantage of last year’s secondary. Let us hope that this year’s secondary is unwilling to indulge the opposition.

Next up, Bryan Covers the Wide Receivers.

(The way we are going to win football games... frankly... but that’s just me... editor’s privilege again....)