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LB Jaden Keller Jumps Into Starting Competition For Virginia Tech

Jaden Keller 1 Fall Camp 2022 From VT

One of the things that I wrote off was the possibility of a competition at the will linebacker given that the Hokies had a solid incumbent there in Alan Tisdale. Though Tisdale likely still is the favorite for the job, there is a younger linebacker that is pushing him greatly for it and has shown that he is definitely a big part of the future of Virginia Tech's defense.

That man: Bristol native Jaden Keller.

After redshirting last year, the 6'3'', 223-pound will linebacker has come to play under Tech's new staff impressing coaches and teammates starting with Brent Pry who made the declaration that Keller is in competition for the

"Right now, he's certainly in competition for the will linebacker spot. He is a beautiful looking young man, he's really had a great summer just changing his body, and looking lean and fast. When he knows what he's doing, he plays as fast as anybody on the defense so he's got a real shot," Pry said.

That's extremely high praise for Keller especially given the presence of Tisdale at the position. While some may wonder if this is some sort of motivation ploy at Tisdale, there's no reason to believe that but rather just a talented young player developing earlier than imagined into a potential quality ACC starter at a position where Tech already has a quality starter in Tisdale, creating some competition.

Keller has had also shown his massive potential in the little bits of fall camp we've gotten to see from a nice diving interception in a LB-RB passing drill to another drill on Friday with just the defensive guys where Keller made a play that led to effusive praise from Pry.

That praise for Keller goes beyond Pry and his staff as veteran leader and star safety Chamarri Conner also has been impressed by Keller and his development this offseason.

"You know I'm loving JK (Jaden Keller). JK is a fast ballplayer, he's going to fly to the ball every time. I'm just loving it," Conner said about Keller's development.

Even offensive guys are seeing Jaden Keller grow significantly this offseason. Malachi Thomas mentioned that Keller was his favorite linebacker to go against in RB-LB drills because of the challenge that Keller poises.

"I would have to say Jaden Keller because he's an athletic linebacker and he's a very good pass rusher, and he has speed so it challenges me more to work on staying inside and keep my hands on him," Thomas said.

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