The most talked about position battle for the Hokies entering fall practice has been the battle at the rover spot after the dismissal of C.J. Reavis from Virginia Tech before the start of fall practice. Reavis has easily won the job with a strong spring, and many believed that the replacement for Reavis wouldn’t be determined till close to the start of the season.
However, Saturday’s scrimmage and media showed how the rover battle has changed with one player emerging with the lead.
Alexander is behind Desmond Frye right now at #Hokies' strong safety spot.
— Norm Wood (@normwood) August 15, 2015
Foster adds that Desmond Frye has the lead at rover, but that Chuck Clark or Der'Woun Greene, even Kendall, could play in a pinch. #Homies
— Alex Koma (@AlexKomaVT) August 15, 2015
Desmond Frye has emerged as the clear leader for the Hokies in the rover position battle with Adonis Alexander sliding back over to the rover spot and taking the backup job. The fact that Alexander is the backup at rover, and Der’Woun Greene may also get time there is a sign that Anthony Shegog will be staying at linebacker.
With Chuck Clark returning to free safety, it was clear that the only route for Frye to get a starting job was at the rover spot after the departure of Reavis. Frye has definitely taken advantage of his opportunity so far to put himself in great position to make his first career start on Labor Day night against the defending national champions.
Frye has always had the type of size that the Hokies want in their rover, and a move to the rover spot was sensible with Clark moving to free safety, and the Hokies having solid depth behind Clark without Frye with Greene and Terrell Edmunds.
Frye’s biggest challenger seemed to be Donovan Riley, but Riley has returned to the cornerback and was one of the two second-team cornerbacks with Mook Reynolds. Now, the biggest challenger for Frye seems to be freshman Adonis Alexander who has moved back to rover after playing some at cornerback this spring.
Alexander is clearly a player with huge potential at the rover spot, and has continued to receive some impressive comparisons from Bud Foster to a former Hokie star, and NFL Pro Bowler.
Bud Foster says Adonis Alexander playing rover now too. Behind Frye. Bud said Alexander reminds him little bit of Kam Chancellor. #Hokies
— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) August 15, 2015
Alexander is one of the best athletes that the Hokies have had on their roster, and has helped his chances of avoiding a redshirt this fall by arriving in Blacksburg this past spring. Alexander has shown a great work ethic and high energy that will at least earn him some playing time on special teams this fall.
Alexander seems ready to push Frye more than people would’ve thought, and might just be able to beat him out for the job though that seems unlikely. However, Alexander definitely seems likely to give Frye a run for his money at the rover spot as someone with more upside than the veteran safety.
For now, Desmond Frye seems very much in-control of the rover job for this fall. In the long term, Adonis Alexander may be a starter for the Hokies sooner rather than later with an outside chance of that happening as soon as the first half of the 2015 season.