The preseason honors continue to roll in for a pair of Virginia Tech defenders.
Linebacker Rayshard Ashby, a 5-foot-10, 237-pound senior from Chesterfield, Va., was named to the Athlon Sports preseason All-American team. Earlier in the week, Ashby was named to the watch list for the Butkus Award, given annually to college football’s top linebacker.
Ashby led the ACC in tackles in 2019 with 120 and finished third in the league in tackles for loss with 17. He was named ACC linebacker of the week five times and led all ACC defenders in individual player of the week awards.
Amazingly, Ashby was left off the first-team All-ACC squad last year, yet finished third in the voting for defensive player of the year.
Joining Ashby on Athlon’s preseason All-American team is junior cornerback Caleb Farley. The 6-foot-2, 207-pounder from Hickory, N.C., was a first-team All-ACC selection in 2019.
The former receiver who moved to defensive back in 2018, is now one of college football’s top cornerbacks. He was named to the watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award earlier in the week.
Farley led the ACC in passes defended last season and finished tied for second with four interceptions.
Expect a big year from both Ashby and Farley, as the Hokies look to build on their strong second half of the season last year on the defensive side of the football. The success of the defense will largely hinge on Ashby and Farley, as the duo anchors the linebacker corps and the secondary.
In both Ashby and Farley, Virginia Tech has two true contenders for All-America honors this fall.