Of the players who transferred from Virginia Tech after the 2019 season, Khalil Ladler was one still looking for a new home. Ladler has now found that home, announcing his transfer to Louisiana Tech on Saturday.
The former four-star recruit had an interesting career at Virginia Tech. Ladler suffered a knee injury in his senior year at IMG Academy, forcing Ladler to redshirt in 2016. Ladler returned in 2017 and proceeded to play in 39 games over the next three seasons. Ladler started 11 games in 2018 but didn’t crack the starting lineup in 2019.
Ladler’s value came in his versatility. He lined up at both safety spots and played at whip linebacker as well. Earlier in his career, Ladler spotlighted at cornerback in pressing situations. Overall, Ladler registered 6.5 tackles for loss, five pass breakups and three forced fumbles while in Blacksburg.
Ladler will be remembered for a few key plays in his career in late-game situations. In 2017, Ladler helped finish a goal line stand against Pittsburgh that sealed a Senior Day win inside Lane Stadium.
Last season, Ladler made two critical tackles in overtime vs. North Carolina. The first came in the fifth overtime period, as Ladler came off the edge to blow up a toss play.
On the very next play, Ladler stuck with North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell and led a gang tackle that gave the Hokies a chance to win. Virginia Tech capped off a six-overtime win directly after.
With Ladler gone, Virginia Tech’s depth at safety is questionable. Divine Deablo returns at free safety, while Devon Hunter is likely to start at rover. Tyree Rodgers is the most experienced option off the bench, and he’s spent most of his time at Tech at cornerback. Virginia Tech will be relying on younger players like Nasir Peoples, Ny’Quee Hawkins, J.R. Walker and Nadir Thompson to fill in when necessary.