With scouts already creating their 2015 NFL Draft big boards, a pair of Virginia Tech football players is starting to get some buzz heading into the new season.
Although the Hokies didn’t land any prospects in the first round of mock drafts like those by ESPN’s Todd McShay or Walterfootball.com’s Walter Cherepinsky, Tech does still have some players that will likely head to the NFL in 2015.
In particular, defensive tackle Luther Maddy and rover Kyshoen Jarrett have earned looks from around the league.
Each considered entering the 2014 NFL draft but decided to return for their senior seasons, giving them another year to earn the attention of scouts and fans alike.
While Maddy and Jarrett might not be household names quite yet, many take them seriously as prospects, and they could vault into the national spotlight with big performances in 2014.
Jarrett has spent the last two seasons manning the rover spot for Bud Foster’s defense—which roughly translates into a strong safety position in the NFL—and it’s no mistake he’s getting some attention.
He made the 2013 All-ACC team as an honorable mention, made the Coaches All-ACC third team and has a reputation as a big hitter and ball hawk.
After all, hits like this one against Pittsburgh’s Devin Street prove that he is a force in the defensive backfield.
He’s currently rated as the eighth best strong safety prospect by CBS Sports, and it makes sense that he considered entering the draft in 2014.
“I definitely want to find out information of where I might go,” Jarrett told Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch at the time. “Whatever benefits my family and I. But at the end of the day, my ties are here to Virginia Tech, and just playing ball. I would be grateful to be able to come back another year and be able to play ball with this great group of guys, coach [Torrian] Gray, coach [Bud] Foster.”
He sat out spring practice after undergoing shoulder surgery, but he should be able to take advantage of another year at Tech to keep attracting attention.
Jarrett’s numbers were certainly good in 2013—he finished with 71 tackles and two interceptions—but he does still have some room to improve and drive his stock higher.
Draftinsider.net rated him as a fourth-round prospect when he was initially mulling entering the draft, and if he performs up to his potential, he can hold his stock there or even better it in 2014.
Maddy has been dominant on the interior of Tech’s line for the last two seasons now, and he’s also earned some buzz for the next draft.
He had his best statistical year of his career in 2013, making 55 tackles and earning 6.5 sacks, so it’s no wonder that he nearly left the Hokies for the NFL last year.
Scouts seem to agree. CBS Sports has him rated as the 10th best player at his position for the 2015 draft.
Maddy’s return in 2014 really helps the Hokies given the team’s lack of depth at the position, but he may find things more difficult on the inside now that Derrick Hopkins has departed for the NFL.
However, the coaching staff is singing the praises of his new partner at defensive tackle, Corey Marshall, so Maddy might be able to find the same kind of success on the inside.
Draftinsider.net called him a potential third round pick when scouting the ACC, but like Jarrett, he does have the ability to improve his stock this season.
Of the pair of Hokies, Maddy has the slightly larger national footprint at the moment. Viewers witnessed his dominance in nationally televised games against Alabama and Miami last season, while Jarrett is still a little more under the radar.
But if Maddy and Jarrett can come out with strong performances and not slip from their previous levels of excellence, both could be NFL-bound next spring.