For the last few years, ESPN has ranked the top 100 college football players based on a poll completed by nearly 50 of their writers. Today, ESPN kicked off their #CFBRank with the college football season one month away from starting.
For the last few years, the Hokies have found a way to at least get one or two players in the top 100. This year, the Hokies have continued that trend with their best pass rusher being the first to make the top 100.
Senior defensive end Dadi Nicolas was ranked tied for 98th by the ESPN #CFBRank in their release of the players ranked 81st to 100th. This is the first time that Nicolas has appeared on this list, which is deservingly after his breakout 2015 season.
Nicolas shined in his first full season as a starter with 72 tackles, 18.5 total tackles for loss, 9 sacks, and 2 blocked kicks. Nicolas proved to be a great speed rusher and talented all-around defensive end that was snubbed from the All-ACC First Team by both the media and the coaches.
Entering this season, Nicolas has received plenty of award watch lists honors along with easily being named to the Preseason All-ACC team. Nicolas is the best returning defensive end in the ACC, and has the potential to earn some Preseason All-American honors though that seems unlikely for now.
However, Nicolas is a complete defensive end that has the talent to have over 20 total tackles for loss and 10 sacks in his senior season. Nicolas will also look to continue to improve his draft, and try to make a push to become a first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Nicolas is one of the centerpieces of arguably the best defenses in college football, and will deservingly receive a lot of attention as one of the players to watch for Virginia Tech-Ohio State. Nicolas has had some big games, and he will look to shine on the big Labor Day night stage, especially as the best defensive end in the game with Joey Bosa suspended.
However, Dadi Nicolas still seems a little underrated on this list as one of the top 8 to 10 pass rushers in the country, but the Haitian defensive end is ready to show the nation once again how talented he is. Don’t be surprised if Nicolas has a good-sized rise on the postseason version of this list.