The Top 3 Virginia Tech Hokies’ Players of the First Half of 2014

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Sep 6, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) is sacked by Virginia Tech Hokies defensive end Dadi Nicolas (90) during the fourth quarter at Ohio Stadium. Virginia Tech Hokies defeated Ohio State Buckeyes 35-21. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Tied for 2nd. DE Dadi Nicolas

The long tie for second continues with Dadi Nicolas who has gone from being the third defensive end for the Hokies last season to being one of the top 2 or 3 defensive ends in the ACC. Nicolas has made a big jump this season and it seems likely that he will end up going in the first two rounds of a future NFL Draft.

The junior defensive end bulked up this offseason from 218 to 231 pounds and Nicolas has gone from being a pure speed rusher to being a very talented pass rusher. The addition of Nicolas’s new strength seems to be benefiting him and has helped make him a serious contender to be First Team All-ACC this season.

Nicolas has 23 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 20 QB hurries, and 1 fumble recovery which is quite an impressive stat line. Nicolas has been a threat throughout the season and defenses have started to focus more attention on the junior because of how dynamic of a threat he is as a very complete pass rusher with great speed and solid strength.

Nicolas will get a chance to shine once again in primetime on Thursday against Pittsburgh and it wouldn’t surprise me if he has a big game, especially after Nicolas shined in the Hokies’ biggest primetime slot against Ohio State with 3 tackles for loss and 2 sacks.

Dadi Nicolas has clearly had the best season of his career and is one of the top defensive ends in the ACC.