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Four Thoughts on Virginia Tech's First 2023 Defensive Depth Chart

Keyshawn Burgos 1 VT Fall Camp 2023 From VT
Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics

Game week means that we have our first depth chart of the 2023 season, and there are plenty of fascinating details for Virginia Tech especially on the defensive side.

I'll have thoughts on the offensive and special teams depth charts but first, here are my thoughts on the most notable news from the first defensive depth chart of 2023 for the Hokies.

Jaden Keller Earns Starting Mike LB Job

You probably aren't surprised to see Jaden Keller get the outright starting edge at mike linebacker over Alan Tisdale and Jayden McDonald even as Tisdale made a big surge over the past couple of weeks. That surge did make me wonder if Tisdale could at least keep a clear competition going into the season.

Instead, Tech has made it clear that Keller is the guy at mike linebacker at least to start the summer and understandably so. Keller took advantage of the fact that he was the only healthy mike LB competitor during the spring getting tons of reps and earning the Defensive Most Improved honors. From there, Keller continued to improve during fall camp even as Alan Tisdale made a big surge with Brent Pry even saying that Tisdale was looking the best he has since Pry and his staff have been in Blacksburg.

There's no doubt that Keller has tons of potential especially given his athleticism that will definitely be a boost in the heart of Tech's defense. Keller definitely has a high ceiling, but his inexperience in live games at mike linebackers could mean there is a little bit of a learning curve in early games as he gains live game experience at the mike running the defense and having a different role compared to will LB.

It does feel like the Tisdale surge gives Keller a short leash if he struggles early on similar to what we saw at will linebacker last season. There also will likely be plenty of reps for Tisdale as the primary backup both at mike officially and unofficially at will linebacker.

For now, Keller has rightly earned the mike LB job giving Virginia Tech their most athletic starting linebacker group in years.

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