Ricky Walker has been a leader on and off the field for Virginia Tech this season. Nicknamed the Bell Cow, Walker was thrust into his role after the majority of defensive starters left following the 2017 season. He had been a solid player for the Hokies in past seasons, but this year would be different as he tried to anchor one of the youngest defenses in Virginia Tech history.
His hard work and production this season hasn’t gone unnoticed, and on Monday afternoon, Walker was announced as one of six Hokies to earn All-ACC honors.
The senior defensive tackle was named to the All-ACC Second Team after receiving honorable mention last season. Walker led the team with 43 tackles on the season and registered 9.5 tackles for loss. Eight of his tackles for loss this season came in ACC games. Walker was recently named ACC Defensive Tackle of the Week after he made seven tackles and forced a fumble in the Hokies’ 34-31 win against Virginia last week.
Joining Walker on the All-ACC Second Team is wide receiver Damon Hazelton. Hazelton received the most votes out of any player for Virginia Tech, earning all-conference honors in his first season with the program. The transfer from Ball State is tied for the ACC lead with eight receiving touchdowns on the season. He leads the Hokies in touchdowns, yards, yards per game and is second on the team in yards per catch.
Punter Oscar Bradburn made the All-ACC Third Team after putting together a solid sophomore season. Bradburn punted the ball inside the 20-yard line 19 times this season and had four touchbacks. He had six punts of 50 or more yards, with a 72-yard punt against Boston College that was the second-longest punt in the ACC this season.
In addition to the second- and third-team members, the Hokies had three players earn honorable mention this season. Kyle Chung, Dalton Keene and Rayshard Ashby all received the honor from the ACC.
Chung is a sixth-year senior offensive lineman. This season, he’s seen action at multiple positions on the line, including playing center, right tackle and left guard in the game against William and Mary. Chung has made 24 consecutive starts over the past two seasons after starting just three games during his first three years at Tech.
Keene earned honors after improving on his freshman year with the Hokies. The sophomore tight end made 19 receptions this season for 302 yards and three touchdowns. One of his most memorable plays of the season came just last week when he hauled in a 45-yard reception in the fourth quarter against UVA to give the Tech offense new life late in the game.
Ashby has been a key contributor to the Lunch Pail Defense in 2018. Becoming a starter for the first time in his career, the sophomore linebacker made 85 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss this season. Ashby led the team in overall tackles this in 2018.
While all of these players have had good seasons, they’re not done yet. The Hokies take on Marshall this Saturday at noon in an attempt to become bowl eligible, giving their All-ACC honorees one more chance to add to their already impressive seasons.
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor