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Virginia Tech football: Darryl Tapp could be headed to the NFL

Tapp is reportedly in negotiations with the San Francisco 49ers for a role on their defensive staff.

SLUG: SP-HOKIES28 DATE: 10/27/2005 Photographer: Tracy A. Wo Photo by Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Say it ain’t so.

After a tumultuous offseason kicked off in December with Justin Fuente keeping his head coaching job at Virginia Tech and a pair of former four-star offensive linemen hitting the transfer portal, things seemingly calmed down in Blacksburg.

With the basketball team playing well, some in the fan base had forgotten — or were trying to forget — another disappointing football season.

On Thursday afternoon, Tech fans were hit with the disappointing news that the most popular coach on staff, co-defensive line coach, Darryl Tapp, appeared to be on the verge of joining the San Francisco 49ers as an assistant defensive line coach.

First of all, this isn’t official — yet. We’ve heard a deal is expected to get done, and Tapp will head to the NFL after just one year back in Blacksburg.

This is an outstanding opportunity for Tapp. The 49ers, who lost defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to the New York Jets, where he was named head coach, have a new defensive coordinator in DeMeco Ryans. A former star player in the NFL, Ryans is also a former teammate of Tapp’s in Philadelphia.

So, while this would be a tough loss for Hokie Nation, if you love Virginia Tech, you will respect Tapp’s decision and wish him well.

A former All-American defensive end at Virginia Tech, Tapp went on to have a successful 12-year NFL career before getting into coaching in 2018 at Central Michigan. After one season there, he spent 2019 at Vanderbilt before he came home to Virginia Tech.

Does Fuente’s unstable job security have something to do with Tapp’s decision? Sure, maybe. But there is a good chance the next coach, whenever that happens, would choose to keep the talented and energetic Tapp on staff.

So, as hard as it may be for fans, don’t go and blame Fuente on this one. A big raise probably wouldn’t have changed Tapp’s decision if he leaves, as this is more about an NFL opportunity.

That means no recruiting and probably more money.

Tapp appeared to be quite popular with the current players and the incoming recruits. His presence is a big reason defensive tackle Jordan Williams chose the Hokies.

Yes, this is a blow for the Hokies. But it isn’t the end of the world. And it is good news for one of the best Hokies we’ve ever had. Instead of lamenting Tapp’s potential departure, congratulate him and wish him well.

That is if he leaves, of course.