2022 Virginia Tech Football Fall Camp Preview: Offensive Tackle

2022 Virginia Tech Football Fall Camp Preview: Offensive Tackle
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Jul 22, 2022

Our position-by-position preview of Virginia Tech football ahead of fall camp continues in the trenches at offensive tackles where the Hokies have produced NFL Draft picks in back-to-back classes and with renowned OL coach Joe Rudolph, are looking to add to that in the near future.

With that said, here's our look at offensive tackle along with the rest of our position-by-position previews to date.

Projected Fall Camp Depth Chart at Left Tackle

  1. Parker Clements
  2. Bob Schick OR Will Jones
  3. Johnny Garrett OR Xavier Chaplin OR Chris Boyd

Right Tackle

  1. Silas Dzansi
  2. Bob Schick OR Will Jones
  3. Johnny Garrett OR Xavier Chaplin OR Chris Boyd

Parker Clements and Silas Dzansi will almost certainly be Virginia Tech's starting offensive tackles this fall though whether Clements or Dzansi is at left and the other at right is to be determined. Behind them is a wide open competition for playing time featuring 2021 JUCO addition Bob Schick, redshirt freshman walk-on Will Jones, and a host of incoming true freshmen.

VT's Next NFL Draft Pick at OT: Parker Clements

Parker Clements followed the path that Luke Tenuta had previously starting the season as the top backup offensive tackle before taking his game to the next level and taking over the starting right tackle job.

Clements kept it rolling with the analytics specifically being big fans of his as he earned All-ACC Third Team honors from Pro Football Focus. This came after Clements started 7 games out of 11 games he played in after redshirting and not touching the field once as a freshman in 2020.

Though Luke Tenuta, Lecitus Smith, and Brock Hoffman are all gone; NFL scouts most certainly won't be as Parker Clements definitely has the potential to be an NFL guy.

Offensive line can be a tough position to evaluate, but the fact that the analytics are a big fan of his is a strong start in terms of drawing attention. Additionally, Clements has the size and athleticism that you want in an offensive tackle at 6'7'' and 292 pounds which a frame that could likely handle more weight.

Of course, this season will be a big test to see if Clements can take that jump from breaking through as a starter last season with analytics being a fan of his to being considered among the conference's best offensive tackles given the potential he brings to the table especially with his size.

Christian Darrisaw and Luke Tenuta have gone from standout careers at Virginia Tech to being NFL Draft picks with Parker Clements showing the potential to be Tech's next NFL offensive tackle.

Silas Dzansi Gets Another Opportunity Without the Same Pressure

Silas Dzansi has had plenty of ups and downs during his time at Virginia Tech, but now has the chance to be a starting offensive tackle without anyone constantly pressuring him for his job. Instead, Dzansi will get to be a clear starter for the first time in his career.

This comes after Dzansi was poised to be the starting left tackle in 2018 before an injury opened the door for Christian Darrisaw who was the surprise starter against Florida State and never looked back. That was followed by Luke Tenuta taking the starting right tackle away from him during the 2019 season before Parker Clements surpassed him at right tackle in 2021 during the season.

Dzansi has never been a spectacular player, but he's always been a humble hard worker who has been a very good swing lineman and solid starter when given the opportunities to shine. He's also stayed the course in Blacksburg even as opportunities have seen to never fully stay the course with younger, future NFL guys jumping him.

Dzansi now has that stability without starting job pressure for the first time in his career which plenty would argue isn't a good thing, but could quite easily be a really good thing for Dzansi and his development. When you are constantly under pressure for your job, it can wear on you and your performance can suffer but when you have security, it can be easier to bounce back when you make mistakes elevating your level of play.

Dzansi also gets to be coached by one of the best offensive line coaches in America in Joe Rudolph for his final season which is also a major plus for his development.

Can Dzansi go from being an okay starter and good swing lineman to a high level ACC starter? The lack of pressure on his job combined with Joe Rudolph may be the right combination to bring the best out of the veteran Dzansi.

Loads of Depth Concerns at Offensive Tackle

Behind Parker Clements and Silas Dzansi is a whole lot of unknowns and question marks for the Hokies with Tech being an injury away from a potential major problem at tackle.

The top two backups entering fall camp appear to be 2021 JUCO addition Bob Schick, who has worked all over the offensive line in his short time in Blacksburg, and redshirt freshman walk-on Will Jones.

Schick was an intriguing addition who was a starting tackle at the JUCO level yet hasn't seemed to breakthrough and get into Virginia Tech's regular offensive line rotation. Schick's biggest opportunity is at tackle, but he could end up sliding inside as well depending on rotational needs for the Hokies on their offensive line.

Meanwhile, Jones may be written off by some as a former walk-on but he also is a former three-star recruit who had loads of Group of 5 and FCS offers choosing to take a VT PWO instead of playing on scholarship elsewhere. Tech also has another walk-on in Chris Boyd who is a redshirt freshman like Jones and has some intrigue around him but appears to be behind Jones on the depth chart.

Beyond those two are the incoming freshman duo of Xavier Chaplin and Johnny Garrett who both have plenty of intrigue surrounding them especially Chaplin given his immense size. Offensive tackle is one of the hardest positions for true freshmen directly out of high school to make an early impact, but there are some who have been able to do so with Chaplin and Garrett having the opportunity to do just that.

Virginia Tech's offensive line depth especially at offensive tackle is definitely a significant concern with Tech needing their backup tackles to develop significantly fast or else be an injury away from a big issue on the edges of their offensive line.