Melvin Keihn was one of the Hokies’ top recruits but the Virginia Tech coaching staff was not sure where he should play exactly. At first, Bud Foster and his staff decided to move him to an inside linebacker spot instead of outside linebacker which makes some sense with his size and quality run defending skills. However, the Hokies have decided to move Keihn once again.
#Hokies giving freshman Melvin Keihn a look at DE instead of ILB because of a lack of depth on the line, per Beamer’s site.
— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) August 12, 2014
Melvin Keihn was actually a player that 247 Sports listed as a defensive end when he was being recruited so the shift for Keihn from linebacker to defensive end shouldn’t be too significant. Keihn seemed like he was going to be a good fit at linebacker but he can definitely still be a solid fit at defensive end.
With Dadi Nicolas being a full-time starter now, Keihn has the skill set to slide into the role that Nicolas previously occupied as a third defensive end that can rotate in to give Nicolas and Ken Ekanem some rest. Keihn was a productive high school player and was very effective as a speed rusher with some finesse moves to get pressure on the quarterback or stop the running back in the backfield.
Keihn actually played a lot as a defensive end though he did play at linebacker in the Under Armour All-America Game. Keihn has the skills to play a lot as a freshman and provide the extra that the Hokies are looking for at defensive end.
At worst, Melvin Keihn will be a solid special teams contributor as a freshman but I expect him to be someone who could challenge Dewayne Alford and Seth Dooley for playing time as the third defensive end.