#16 Virginia Tech Hokies v Boston College Eagles
Saturday, October 7, 2017, 7:15 p.m. ET
Alumni Stadium – Chestnut Hill, MA
Virginia Tech (23), Boston College (10)
1. Harold Landry remains a tough evaluation
Clearly Boston College defensive end Harold Landry is a good football player, but is he a great one? A first round quality edge defender? I think he’s improved his point of attack prowess against the run based off the live viewings I’ve seen this year, but Landry doesn’t seem to play with the same intensity and aggressiveness on every snap, and is very much a finesse pass rusher. If Landry doesn’t win the edge with speed and bend, he doesn’t have a go-to move or any physicality in his rush game. His hands will need significant development, as will his ability to utilize counter moves to work back inside when he doesn’t win at the top of the arc.
Landry had three sacks against Virginia Tech, but at least two were of the cleanup variety, as interior pressure pushed Virginia Tech quarterback Josh Jackson to him on one, and the other came with Jackson scrambling around in the pocket after holding the ball for several seconds. The questions with Landry will be if he is an elite enough level athlete to take a chance on despite his relative lack of polish. Landry is clearly a good athlete, but there is a difference between that general level of athletic ability and pass-rush athleticism. I think Landry has the flexibility to corner at a high level, but I’m not sure he’s the most twitched-up pass rusher.
2. Virginia Tech defensive front has several talented NFL prospects
Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds stood out a ton to me last season, as a speedy, physical defender who fits the prototype of the modern NFL linebacker. Edmunds’ long arms and terrific closing burst help him as a tackler, but he still whiffs a bit too often, so it was good to see him consistently wrap up against Boston College. Trevon Hill is just a redshirt sophomore who probably doesn’t declare, but he’s an intriguing pass rusher, flashing legit hand usage at times. His running mate Vinny Mihota is one of the smarter players on Virginia Tech’s defense, which the unit needs as it loves to play fast and free. With a plethora of rushers bursting through to pressure Boston College quarterback Anthony Brown, Mihota was the lone Hokie to sniff out the potential screen, shutting the play down and forcing an Eagles punt.
3. Legit Hokies secondary
Brandon Facyson, Adonis Alexander and Greg Stroman form an impressive defensive backfield for the Hokies, and this game did not test them much. I did think that Facyson committed defensive pass interference on a sudden change play-action shot near the beginning of the game, but there was no call. He struggles to play with his back to the ball, but Alexander and Stroman both impressed, both in their positioning in zone coverage and their ability to process and react in matchup zone coverage. Boston College’s passing attack was anemic and their weapons limited, so this probably wasn’t the matchup to draw any major conclusions about the trio.
4. Virginia Tech offense poised for big things
I don’t know that the Hokies will have any early declarations on the offensive side of the ball, and if everyone returns, this should be an impressive unit in 2018. Redshirt freshman quarterback Josh Jackson is inconsistent and needs to improve his accuracy, but he has a nice arm and the athleticism to play in and out of structure. Traveon McMillian shouldn’t declare in this running back class, but he has the physicality, size and soft hands to be a nice depth back in the NFL. Losing Cam Phillips to graduation will hurt, but the senior left this game injured early in the contest, and freshman Sean Savoy stepped up with nine catches for 139 yards and a score. It’s a nice young nucleus for head coach Justin Fuente, who experienced more turnover than he would have liked last season when several players unwisely declared early for the 2017 draft.
5. A few stand out on Boston College’s defense
The Eagles don’t have a ton of draft-worthy prospects on the team, but cornerback Kamrin Moore might be their top draft-eligble player outside of Landry. In the two games I’ve watched I’m not sure Moore is a great athlete who projects well to man coverage, but he’s a physical defender who will come up and play the run. Backup corner in a zone-heavy scheme? Potential safety at 5-11, 195?
Two Eagles defenders played their tails off in this game, but to no avail. Senior linebacker Tyler Schwab finished the game with eight tackles, one sack and one tackle-for-loss, while junior defensive end Zach Allen recorded 14 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack and another quarterback hit. Neither player looked like they had the athleticism to project to major roles at the next level, but they were the biggest reasons Boston College remained in the game as long as they did.