Virginia Tech Football: New Recruits Bryant & Wooten Could Be The DL Duo Hokies Need, Earn Praise From Former VT Star
It's obvious the 2020 Virginia Tech football team is loaded with young talent. Halfway through last season, we saw a inexperienced group morph into a cohesive unit before our eyes.
For whatever reason, though, the Hokies have struggled to land that dominant playmaker on the defensive line who constantly wreaks havoc on opposing quarterbacks, while usually doubling as a force agains the run. A true edge threat.
Think JJ Watt, or the Bosa brothers. Last season there was Ohio State's Chase Young, believed to be one of the top athletic defensive ends to come through the college football ranks in recent history.
These players typically fit a defined mold. They have a tall, muscular frame and are quick off the ball. They have magic hat filled with spin moves, twists and other techniques to keep offensive linemen & blocking schemes guessing. They are unusually fast for their size. They are freakishly strong, and can pivot, changing directions in the drop of a dime.
Fuente addressed the reasoning behind finding players like the two we are about to analyze, who fit that mold.
Take a moment to pause and consider. Who was the last dominant Virginia Tech standout defensive end/linemen to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks, draw double-teams regularly & create nightmares for Hokies’ opponents?.
Of the all-time sack leaders at Virginia Tech? Corey Moore (1998) was the last Hokie to earn his way into those ranks.
Bruce Smith holds the top two sack records in Blacksburg (career (46), and season (22 in 1983). Cornell Brown is the second-ranked Hokie in career sacks with 35, and Moore ranks third, while finishing 4th in most VT sacks in a single season (14.5, 1998). Smith's dominance carries over to the single-game category, as the Hall of Famer posted four sacks in two separate outings. Morgan Roane (1985) and J.C Price (1995) are both tied behind Smith, each producing a 4-sack outing once during their time with the Hokies.
The point? Even Bud Foster's crippling defenses failed to produce dominant pass rushers & defensive linemen on a regular basis.
While anything can happen and it’s still early, there’s a duo from Texas — both highly touted edge playmakers — who could finally give the Hokies dominance up front in every facet of the position.
4-star DE Alec Bryant
Fuente once again showed his prowess in Texas and was able to land an ultra-talented, freakishly athletic defensive talent in Bryant. Despite receiving offers from TCU and “traditional powerhouses" like Oklahoma and USC, Bryant opted to take his talents to Blacksburg as one of the biggest additions of the early signing period. He was ranked as one of the Top-20 weakside defensive ends in the country by every major recruiting site and the 6-foot-3, 240-pound game-wrecker's film is thrilling to witness. He appears to thrive in every role, dominating against the run while consistently mauling offensive linemen -- often with a variety of moves -- but also has incredible strength to literally maul over offensive linemen. Hokie Nation better take notice of Bryant now, he appears to be the real deal with an incredibly high ceiling.
3-Star Prospect Robert Wooten
It’s hard to figure out the formulas these sites use to rank players as Wooten appears to be on the same level as Bryant, but brings a defined skill-set to the table. Another Texas recruit — Wooten is solid against the run — but absolutely thrives at rushing the passer. He has an arsenal of tools to trick, beat and often embarrass anyone lined up attempting to block him.
Bryant feels more like Nick Bosa, while Wooten feels more like Chase Young.
We caught up with former Virginia Tech standout defensive linemen who Hokies’ fans will trust. He was high on both Bryant & Wooten, but gave a surprising answer to which player he liked more right now. Check out the video above for his take and a full breakdown of each player.