Virginia Tech Football: What You Need to Know About Hokies' Underrated Players

Bryan Manning@bdmanning4Featured ColumnistAugust 20, 2012

Virginia Tech Football: What You Need to Know About Hokies' Underrated Players

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    When you think of the 2012 Virginia Tech Hokies, you naturally think of Logan Thomas before anyone else.

    Thomas could be one of the top quarterbacks in the country and no doubt is the key to the Hokies' season. 

    But while Thomas is the most important player, there are several others who will play big roles in 2012. 

    Here is a look at four underrated Hokies that aren't on the national radar, yet.

Cornerback Kyle Fuller

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    Calling Kyle Fuller underrated may or may not be a stretch, depending on you view him.

    Fuller was a second-team All-ACC defensive back as a sophomore in 2011 and is a preseason 2012 first-team All-ACC pick this season.

    However, when mentioning the ACC's best defensive backs, Fuller isn't the first name that comes to mind. 

    N.C. State's David Amerson, who led the NCAA with 13 interceptions in 2011, is regarded as the top corner in the ACC, and perhaps all of college football.

    And rightfully so.

    But Fuller is often overlooked because of the Hokies' proclivity to put defensive backs in the NFL and Fuller's younger brother, Kendall, a future Hokie, is one of the top-five high school seniors in the Class of 2013.

    In previewing the 2012 season, Fuller may be the most important Hokie other than Thomas. If the entire nation doesn't know who Fuller is now—they will in December. 

Inside Linebacker Jack Tyler

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    Junior Jack Tyler came to Virginia Tech as a walk-on in 2009. In his redshirt freshman season of 2010, Tyler played in all of the Hokies' games, showing the coaches he was more than a special teams player.

    In the second half of the Hokies' game against Florida State that year, Tyler filled in for injured starter Bruce Taylor and recorded seven tackles, three of which were behind the line of scrimmage.

    Tyler also started in the Orange Bowl that season and held his own.

    When Taylor was lost for the season with six games remaining in 2011, Tyler filled in capably. While not the biggest or flashiest player, Tyler is effective.

    Injuries in spring practice allowed Tyler to get the majority of reps and he seems primed to play often in 2012. He can play each of the linebacker spots, if needed.   

Linebacker Tariq Edwards

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    Junior Tariq Edwards is one of the more overlooked Hokies on defense.

    He finished third on the team in tackles and tackles-for-loss in 2011 while starting every game.

    Edwards is good in coverage and has shown a propensity to be around the football.

    He missed most of the offseason work after suffering a stress fracture in his leg. The Hokies are counting on Edwards to be ready for the first game of the season as he is the team's top playmaking linebacker. 

Center Andrew Miller

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    With the Hokies losing four starters along the offensive line, Miller becomes even more important in 2012.

    As a first-year starter in 2011, Miller was often the Hokies' most consistent lineman. He started every game and was on the field for more than 900 plays. 

    There are many questions about the offensive line—Miller's return should help ease many of the concerns. 

    While Miller has proven to be a good football player, his leadership qualities have gotten him recognized by the coaches. Miller won the President's Award, given to the offensive player who shows tremendous leadership during all offseason activities. 

    Miller was named to the preseason watch list for the Rimington Trophy, given annually to college football's top center.