Virginia Tech Spring Football Preview: A Look at the Defensive Backs

Justin ClarkCorrespondent IMarch 25, 2009

MIAMI - JANUARY 01: Kam Chancellor #17 of the Virginia Tech Hokies celebrates after making an interception with teammate Nekos Brown #47 against  the Cincinnati Bearcats the FedEx Orange Bowl at Dolphin Stadium on January 1, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Defensive Back University has undergone a name change and will now be known as Virginia Polytechnic and State University, or Virginia Tech.

The Hokies have become synonymous with placing great defensive back talent into the NFL over the past few years.

Brandon Flowers, Macho Harris, DeAngelo Hall, Jimmy Williams, Eric Green, Vincent Fuller, Pierson Prioleau, Aaron Rouse, and Nick Sorenson are all NFL defensive backs that once called Worsham Field inside Lane Stadium their home.

In 2009, the Hokies have a nest full of future NFL’ers on their squad in what should be one of the best defensive backfields Coach Foster has ever had.

Tech does lose former five star Macho Harris, which may hurt the Hokies early on this season, but the cupboard is far from bare in Blacksburg.


First String

Senior Stephen Virgil made a name for himself early on last season, as he had a 30-yard fumble return for a touchdown and a blocked PAT returned for two points all in the first game of the season versus East Carolina.

Alongside Macho Harris at the field cornerback position, Virgil played well the entire season, grabbing six interceptions and 14 pass defections.

In 2009, Virgil should be the next lockdown corner for the Hokies, as he will move over to the boundary cornerback position and take over for the departed Macho Harris.
Starting opposite of Virgil this spring will be junior Rashad Carmichael.

Roc, as his teammates call him, has struggled a bit during his tenure here at Virginia Tech, but now, as an upperclassman, Carmichael should be able to turn it on and lock down the starting boundary corner spot.

Rashad did start in the ECU game a year ago in place of an injured Macho Harris, so he does have some starting experience.  He finished with 12 total tackles last year including four pass defections while seeing limited time in all 14 games.

Second String

The Hokies may be a tad short on depth this year at cornerback, but the good news is that it will give the second string guys a few more reps, which will only help down the road.

Cris Hill was a prominent recruit out of Highland Springs High School that has yet to live up to his potential.

Hill is a bit on the small side at 5’10” and only a 175 pounds. However, Cris is a speedy player that does have good coverage skills but lacks the physical nature that most Virginia Tech defensive backs need to possess.

Hill will backup Stephen Virgil at the boundary corner position this spring.

Sophomore Eddie Whitley may be one of the greatest defensive backs to ever play at Virginia Tech when he leaves Blacksburg in three years.

Whitley is an extremely physical player that reminds me of a faster and even more physical Brandon Flowers.

Eddie will battle Rashad Carmichael this spring and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Whitley starting against the Crimson Tide this fall.

Free Safety

First String

Senior Kam Chancallor is a physically imposing player at safety that appears to have his eyes set on a first round draft pick in the 2010 NFL draft.

Kam struggled last year as he adjusted to his new free safety role on defense.  However, Kam should be back to his old, hard-hitting self this fall, as it seems he has a better grip on the free safety position.

In 2008, Kam finished the season with 52 total tackles to go along with his two interceptions.

Second String

Lorenzo Williams was able to see some playing time in his true freshman season last year and should be able to focus on being the primary free safety backup this season.

Zo managed to play in eight games last year and finished the season with six tackles, with all of those coming on special teams.


First String

Senior Dorian Porch played phenomenally well at the end of last season when he had to take over for Davon Morgan after he tore his ACL.

Porch is one of the better all around athletes on the entire Virginia Tech team, as he was in the top five in five different weight lifting and agility categories this offseason.

Porch finished first in the front squat with 450 pounds, first in the 10-yard dash with 1.62 seconds, second in the vertical jump at 39.5 inches, second in the NFL shuttle with 4.03 seconds, and fifth in the 40-yard dash at 4.43 seconds.

Second String

Davon Morgan started for most of the year until tearing his ACL against Nebraska, which ended his season.

Morgan is cleared and ready to go this spring, as he will battle with Porch to try and win back the starting job at Rover.

In just five games last year, Davon finished with 18 total tackles along with one forced fumble and one quarterback hurry.


Virginia Tech should once again be able to control the skies in Blacksburg with the talent they have returning at all four defensive back positions.

Virgil and either Roc or Whitley should lock down the starting job at both cornerback spots, while Kam and Porch should be the starters at both safety positions.

Tech may need to try and get one of their true freshmen cornerbacks that are enrolling this fall ready just in case something were to happen, as the Hokies are a bit thin at corner this year.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jerrod Williams or possibly Jayron Hosley dress this fall and travel with the team as either the fifth or sixth cornerback on the depth chart.

Lost from 2008

Victor “Macho” Harris (Graduation)

Enrolling in the Fall

Jerrodd Williams

Jayron Hosley

James Hopper

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