Virginia Tech Moves Keli Lawson, Bryce Goodner to Defense

Virginia Tech Moves Keli Lawson, Bryce Goodner to Defense
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Apr 08, 2022

Virginia Tech have moved plenty of players around multiple positions this spring including QB/WR Connor Blumrick and safety/LB Keonta Jenkins most notably. However, none of those changes have seen players go from offense to defense or vice versa until now.

Brent Pry told the media earlier this week that Keli Lawson has been moved from WR to the sam LB spot while media who were in attendance at Virginia Tech's partially open to media practice on Thursday saw that Bryce Goodner had moved from the offensive line to defensive tackle.

Lawson starting out at WR upon his arrival last year was a surprise to almost anyone with that experiment ending this spring and Lawson moving to what appeared to most to always be his better fit defense. The reason why Lawson came up was because Pry mentioned some players who had change positions and impressed him in the recent scrimmage with Lawson being among those along with Keonta Jenkins and J.R. Walker who both have also been working at sam LB.

When asked about why Pry decided to move Lawson to the defensive side of the ball, the Hokies' head coach had this to say including a comparison to a former Penn State LB of his and current New York Giants player.

"I love guys like that. You look at a field backer we played with and won a Cotton Bowl with at Penn State, Cam Brown, who's currently playing with the New York Giants. Keli reminds me a lot of Cam, maybe a little better athlete. A long guy, rangy, he is physical," Pry said.

Pry also shared more about how he's seen Lawson as a better defensive prospect for a while in line with what Lawson's high school coach had said while also sharing some insights into how Pry approached Lawson about the move.

"I was aware of Keli out of high school. I know his head coach there at Sherando. Coach Hall always felt like Keli was a better defensive position. When I watch his high school film, I feel like he's a better defensive prospect. He was just doing okay at wide receiver. I talked with him about the opportunity to get on the field more quickly on the defensive side of the ball, and what his strengths were. Day by day, he's getting better at it so I'm excited about it," Pry said.

Lawson's move to defense doesn't come as a surprise and should give him a great chance to fulfill his potential that always seemed much higher on defense.

Meanwhile, the same lack of surprise can't be said for Bryce Goodner who was recruited to Virginia Tech as a center and seemed like the next man up after Brock Hoffman and Johnny Jordan. To state the obvious, that seems very unlikely now that he's working at DT some this spring.

The move of Goodner from OL to DT hadn't been mentioned by any Tech coaches or players in a previous press conference previously, and it's possible that Tech is just experimenting with Goodner at a different spot though we'll have to get further clarification from media sessions plus open portions of practice to the media and the Spring Game.

Regardless, if Goodner's move is permanent to DT, then the Hokies may be looking at the transfer portal for a center after Johnny Jordan exhausts his eligibility this season given the lack of depth there. His move there combined with Gunner Givens and Braelin Moore also spending time at DT shows Tech is looking to boost their numbers all along the defensive line.