Courtesy of 247Sports
Ricky Walker could add major depth at DT.
Defensive tackle is a painfully thin position for the Hokies, a fact that must keep Bud Foster up at night.
Foster’s defense relies on having versatile, consistent defensive tackles to set up the rest of his aggressive scheme, and not being able to rotate in multiple players to the position would be a real detriment to the team.
But Foster might have a solution to this problem with incoming freshman Ricky Walker. While senior star Luther Maddy will hold down one defensive tackle spot, Hopkins’ graduation leaves the other wide open. That’s where Walker could come in.
As it stands now, it looks like redshirt sophomore Nigel Williams is in line to grab the spot, and with good reason. He only got limited playing time last year, but made an appearance in each of the team’s 13 games, and got two sacks and seven tackles for loss in his brief stretches on the field.
But while he lacks experience, Walker is already a polished player, as French of TheKeyPlay.com explains.
After watching Ricky Walker's film the first time, I immediately wanted him in Chicago Maroon and Burnt Orange. At 6-2, 275 pounds, the Rivals.com four-star recruit from Bethel High School was utilized as an eagled nose tackle in the middle of a true 50 front. In a four-man front, Bethel utilized Walker as both a 1-technique and 3-technique defensive tackle, and on passing downs they moved him out to end. Against Phoebus and Marshawn Williams, Bethel moved Walker back to middle linebacker on some passing downs. He was productive at all four positions, and dominant as a nose tackle. In high school football with very limited practice time, it takes a very high football IQ to be productive at multiple positions, especially on the defensive line. Bud Foster stated clearly on National Signing Day that Walker, ‘Has the ability to come in and be an impact player right away.’ As a senior, Walker had 11 sacks, 15 tackles for a loss, and 73 tackles despite missing two games with injuries. As a junior, Walker also put up 11 sacks while being moved all over the defense by Coach Bubba Hooker.
Now, this high school prominence doesn’t automatically earn him time on the field, but if he has a good spring, he could rocket up the depth chart.
He’s probably already a pretty safe bet to share second team duties with sophomore Woody Baron, but a big set of practices could make it a close race with Williams for the starting spot.
Walker could be a future star down the line for the Hokies, but he has a lot to gain by having a big spring practice and accelerating the process.
However, his potential can’t compare to the players vying for the most important position on the whole team.