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Linebacker is Virginia Tech's Most Fascinating Position Group Entering the Summer

Keli Lawson 1 VT Purdue 2023 From VT
Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics

The Virginia Tech Hokies had their fair share of ups and downs with their linebacker play this past season. The lack of a true mike linebacker like Dax Hollifield had been, seemed to effect the Hokies in many ways including improper alignments and run fits. Overall, the linebacker group was one of the weak spots for the Hokies in 2023.

This was also a position group that saw plenty of churn with Keli Lawson, Alan Tisdale, Jaden Keller, and Jayden McDonald all receiving significant reps throughout the season. That included the now graduated Tisdale took the starting mike LB job from Keller during the season while Lawson was usurped down the closing stretch by McDonald at will LB.

The STAR LB spot was the bright with Keonta Jenkins having the best season of his career with 50 tackles including 10.0 for loss. Meanwhile, Caleb Woodson impressed in his limited reps as a true freshman as the first player that the Hokies had truly recruited for that role.

Regardless of that, the Hokies knew that their linebacker play haD to improve if they want to be serious contenders in the ACC in 2024.

That led Tech to making a move in the portal and adding a true mike linebacker in Middle Tennessee State's Sam Brumfield. The All-Conference USA standout immediately projects to be the Hokies' starting mike LB but Jaden Keller continued to receive some praise from coaches, suggesting that the Hokies aren't approaching this as a sure thing even it seems inevitable.

Meanwhile, the will LB competition started this spring with Jayden McDonald being joined unexpectedly by Caleb Woodson while Keli Lawson had to watch as he recovered from injury. Jenkins also stayed at STAR LB even as some wondered if the Hokies should consider moving him back to safety after Nasir Peoples exhausted his eligibility last year.

In all of this, the Hokies' linebacker room has become the most fascinating position group to watch this summer. It's a room full of storylines from open starting competitions to long-time backups entering make it or break it falls to position changes to an All-ACC standout looking to show he can be a 2025 NFL Draft pick.

Let's start with the most fascinating storyline: the Hokies' wide open competition at will LB.

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