Christian Darrisaw is one of — if not the biggest — success story from Justin Fuente’s six seasons as head coach of Virginia Tech. A lightly recruited offensive tackle from Riverdale Baptist High in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Virginia Tech was Darrisaw’s only FBS offer.
Darrisaw committed to Virginia Tech in Nov. 2016 — Fuente’s first season as head coach — and spent the 2017 season at Fork Union Military Academy. Darrisaw enrolled at Virginia Tech in 2018 and immediately became Tech’s starting left tackle.
Darrisaw was a freshman All-American in 2018 and would go on to become a three-year starter for the Hokies. He entered the 2021 NFL draft, where he was selected No. 23 overall by the Minnesota Vikings.
The two-time former All-ACC performer quickly established himself as a critical piece of Minnesota’s offense. As Darrisaw is set to enter his third NFL season in 2023, he received some positive recognition recently, as Doug Farrar of USA TODAY SMG’s Touchdown Wire named him as one of the NFL’s best offensive tackles at No. 11.
The Vikings took Darrisaw with the 23rd overall pick in the 2021 draft, had to wait the first four games of his rookie season for him to recover from a groin injury, and then sat back and got happy as Darrisaw had a very solid inaugural campaign. He allowed five sacks, but just six quarterback hits and 11 quarterback hurries in 398 total pass-blocking reps. In 165 True Pass Set reps, Darrisaw allowed four of those sacks, four hits, and eight hurries.
Last season, a healthy Darrisaw allowed the same number of sacks overall (five), with six hits and 12 hurries, in 312 pass-blocking snaps. All five of those sacks, as well as three hits and six hurries, came in 269 True Pass Sets.
Darrisaw would be higher on this list but for one thing — those sacks show a player in need of development in certain areas. It’s not just one thing. Darrisaw will be vulnerable at times to bull-rushes, pass-rushers beating him around the arc, and inside counters. There isn’t a tackle in the NFL who won’t give it up once in a while, but before Darrisaw can ascend in the league, he’ll have to button a few things up.
Darrisaw is one of the youngest players on the list. Darrisaw was a quick study when he was with the Hokies, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t follow the same path in the NFL. Once he continues to improve, don’t be surprised if he makes the Pro Bowl or he is named an All-Pro.