The 2016 Tech Lunch Pail Awards continue on today as we shift to the defensive side of the ball to name our Defensive Hokie of the Year. Bud Foster’s defense saw a little bit of a renaissance in 2016 on the Hokies’ way to returning to the top of the ACC Coastal with Virginia Tech having one of the ACC’s best defenses.
As with all of our other awards, the decision was not unanimous in our choice, but one All-ACC defensive star stood out to win this award.
The 2016 Tech Lunch Pail Defensive Hokie of the Year is Woody Baron after Baron had one of the best seasons by a Virginia Tech defensive lineman in recent memory. Baron was the biggest star on a loaded Virginia Tech defense as the senior DT shined in his first and only year as a full-time starter with 56 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, and 5 QB hurries on his way to earning All-ACC First Team honors from the ACSMA.
Baron had some big performances also this season as he had at least 3 tackles for loss in three different games including his best game coming on Thursday night at Lane Stadium against Miami with 6 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and 2 QB hurries in what was one of the best individual defensive performances by a Virginia Tech defensive lineman under Bud Foster.
Two years ago, many wondered what type of future Baron may have including myself, but Baron proved a whole lot of people wrong surging up the depth chart as a junior to becoming the Hokies’ star defensive player on a very talented defense. Baron needed to add some size and he did exactly that which allowed him to hold up against interior linemen while also still having above-average athleticism and speed for a DT plus developed his finesse moves to become a great run stuffer and a solid pass rusher.
Baron should have a future at the next level and while he may not end up being drafted, no one should be surprised if our Defensive Hokie of the Year is on a NFL roster at the start of the next NFL season.
The other person who received the most consideration for the award was Tremaine Edmunds as he had 106 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 interception, 9 QB hurries, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery on his way to receiving Second Team All-ACC honors in what was a tremendous debut season as a starter.
Mook Reynolds finished the season quite well but made plays all season and shined at what seemed to be a “nickelwhip” role with 64 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, 4 QB hurries, and 6 pass breakups. Meanwhile, Terrell Edmunds made tons of plays in his first year at rover with 89 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions, 3 pass breakups, and a fumble recovery.
Congrats to Woody Baron on being our Defensive Hokie of the Year for the 2016 season. Coming up tomorrow, our Offensive Hokie of the Year and more.