It has been a busy couple of days for Virginia Tech football in the news with the fining controversy starting a lot of conversation on many radio and TV shows big and small across the country. However, that controversy seemed to be quieting down, which is largely due to the way Whit Babcock quickly said that the program had been shut down if it ever started.
Meanwhile, there was some other interesting news of note that came from Charley Wiles about redshirts along the defensive line.
Settle and Ricky Walker will both likely redshirt
— Chris Coleman (@ChrisColemanTSL) August 26, 2015
Multiple defensive freshmen are headed for redshirts including Darius Fullwood, Houshun Gaines, Trevon Hill (recovering from torn ACL), Carson Lydon, and Harry Lewis; but two players in particular stand out as likely redshirts.
Former five-star recruit Tim Settle and sophomore Ricky Walker are both headed for redshirts this fall. On many if not most power 5 conference teams, at least one of Walker and Settle would likely be in the top four defensive tackles if not both players.
In Blacksburg, Walker may be slightly ahead of Steve Sobczak, but Sobczak is a solid number 5 DT while also already being redshirted in the past. Settle likely was the number 7 defensive tackle on the depth chart and redshirting him was the only sensible move to preserve his full four years of eligibility with playing time very unlikely this fall.
First, this is a tremendous statement about the impressive depth the Hokies have at defensive tackle with Luther Maddy, Corey Marshall, Woody Baron, Nigel Williams, and Steve Sobczak. The Hokies probably have the best depth at defensive tackle in college football with five players that will provide plenty of pressure on interior offensive linemen.
Right now, the Hokies top four defensive tackles are either seniors (Marshall, Maddy) or juniors (Baron, Williams), and the Hokies could use some younger depth with plenty of eligibility. Preserving one of the years of eligibility for Walker and Settle will definitely help, and give younger guys like Harry Lewis and 2016 commit Clay Dean more time to develop.
Tim Settle was clearly not going to play much if any this fall, and it makes too much sense not to redshirt him. Settle did have some concerns about getting into Virginia Tech this fall academically, and having a redshirt will only help him make a smoother transition to Virginia Tech academically.
Settle will also be able to get his weight down to around 330 pounds, and get a consistent nutrition plan to stay in shape in the long-term. Settle is going to be at least an All-ACC level defensive tackle, but redshirting him right now makes too much sense.
Ricky Walker was a little bit of a surprise since he played some last season and had a good spring. However, Sobczak had a great offseason and closed the gap to almost nothing, giving the Hokies the opportunity to redshirt Walker with Sobczak being a quality number 5 defensive tackle.
Walker seems almost certain to be a starter in 2017, likely with Settle, but redshirting him now also means that the Hokies can have the former four-star recruit as a starter for two years. Walker proved last year that he has the talent to maintain the Hokies’ strong defensive tackle play and redshirting him makes sense.
Walker also will have the chance to just focus on getting stronger, and developing his skills more without having much pressure on him. The Hokies can also always take the redshirt off of him if a couple players get injured, and the Hokies need some depth at defensive tackle.
Redshirting Ricky Walker and Tim Settle may seem like a surprise, especially in Walker’s move, but is a smart move by Charley Wiles.