Today's partially open practice gave the media a chance to gain some early insights on to where Virginia Tech's roster stands with one of the most notable things being a position change for Jaylen Griffin.
Griffin has moved from linebacker to the defensive line and reportedly to defensive tackle according to comments from defensive end Emmanuel Belmar. This doesn't seem as surprising given that Griffin bulked up to 260 pounds this offseason and isn't someone who necessarily has the frame to be a linebacker at 260 pounds.
Given the Hokies' impressive linebacking corps, Griffin was starting to get buried on the depth chart at backer with Griffin clearly eager to find a way to make a difference even if it leads him to move inside. Griffin should be able to bring some more athleticism to defensive tackle than normal, but he definitely will have an uphill battle not only adapting to working on the interior of the defensive tackle, but also to continuing to add the size that he'll need at the position.
However, the opportunity is definitely there with Jarrod Hewitt being the only returner in the two-deep and plenty of competition this fall for a starting spot and the top two backup spots from returner Robert Porcher IV, JUCO transfers DeShawn Crawford and Jaden Cunningham, and true freshmen Mario Kendricks, Joshua Fuga, and Norell Pollard.
While it may be a challenge for Griffin, the opportunity is there for him to break in among a group full of new faces looking to prove to Charley Wiles and Bud Foster that they have what it takes to claim a prominent role at defensive tackle.
In a Saturday press conference, Justin Fuente specified that Jaylen Griffin has moved to defensive end rather than defensive tackle.
Griffin will also enter a fairly open competition for playing time at defensive end though this may be a tougher one with four guys entering at least their third year in the program in Emmanuel Belmar, Tyjuan Garbutt, Nathan Proctor, and Zion Debose. If things don't work out at DE, Griffin does seem to have the potential to add the size that could allow him to move inside and make a run at earning playing time as a defensive tackle.
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
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