Sep 13, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies defensive end Dadi Nicolas (90) rushes the passer during the third quarter against the East Carolina Pirates at Lane Stadium. East Carolina defeated Virginia Tech 28-21. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
The Virginia Tech Hokies saw a lot of changes in the front 7 with six of seven players being new starters this season. However, the Hokies were having a very productive backup starting regularly for the first time this season in Dadi Nicolas. The concern with Nicolas was that he was too small and couldn’t do too much damage.
Nicolas bulked up some this offseason and has become a defensive playmaker this season. Nicolas’s performance against Duke was the latest example of that fact.
Nicolas was absolutely dominant against the Duke Blue Devils with Nicolas having 8 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 5 QB hurries. This was the latest big game from Nicolas this season and it earned him a weekly award from the ACC.
This is not the first time Nicolas has been recognized as the ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week and it may not be the last with the Hokies playing Wake Forest and Virginia the next two weeks. Nicolas absolutely deserved this award for the dominant performance he had against a very good Duke football team.
Overall on the season, Nicolas has 46 tackles and leads the Hokies with 12.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, and 30 QB hurries. Nicolas has gotten the job done whether it has been on stuffing an opposing running back in the backfield, rushing a pass, or getting a sack on the quarterback.
Nicolas hasn’t consistently had big games largely due to how teams have been game planning to find ways to take the junior defensive end out of the game. However, Duke was unable to do that and Nicolas has proven this season that he should be considered for a spot on the All-ACC First Team.
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Nicolas could end up over 55 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks after these next two games which would be very impressive numbers for a collegiate defensive end. Nicolas has had a great season this year and has the talent to have a strong senior season and climb fairly high up in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Dadi Nicolas is a big time defensive playmaker and is ready to help lead a late season resurgance of Virginia Tech football that can carry over into next season’s big opening game at home on Labor Day night against Ohio State.