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
The Virginia Tech Hokies have had a wild season and have one regular season game remaining before a possible bowl game with the Virginia Cavaliers coming to Blacksburg in the battle for the Commonwealth Cup. With the 2014 regular season down to the final two weeks, fans can start looking ahead to some of the postseason awards and all-conference selections.
The Hokies will certainly have one All-ACC First Team player with Kendall Fuller but the sophomore cornerback shouldn’t be the only one on the team. Dadi Nicolas also should have a spot at defensive end on the All-ACC First Team.
Nicolas bulked up this offseason to 231 pounds and has developed into a complete defensive end that teams have to prepare for every single week. The junior defensive end is a great speed rusher but the addition of 13 pounds this offseason has allowed him to take his game to the next level and become Virginia Tech’s best defensive end in the last few seasons.
On the season, Nicolas is tied for second among ACC defensive ends with 7.5 sacks with Ken Ekanem being tied with him and Clemson’s Vic Beasley being the only player ahead of him on that list with 9 sacks. Nicolas has consistently gotten pressure on the quarterback with 10 QB hurries as listed by the ACC.
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On top of that, Nicolas has been tremendous as a run stuffing defensive end with 15 tackles for loss and 53 total tackles which is quite good compared to Beasley who has 15.5 tackles for loss but only 23 total tackles. Nicolas’s stats are also better than Virginia’s Eli Harold who has 51 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and 7 sacks along with Louisville’s Lorenzo Mauldin who has 41 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks.
Overall in the ACC, Nicolas’s 15 tackles for loss are second only behind Beasley while his 7.5 sacks are tied for fourth in the ACC overall with Beasley ahead of him along with Virginia linebackers Henry Coley and Max Valles.
Nicolas has also gotten the job done while being the focal point of the Hokies’ defensive line since the loss of Luther Maddy and likely receiving the most attention from opposing offensive coordinators. Nicolas has also been a force on special teams with 2 blocked kicks this season which is quite impressive.
Dadi Nicolas has been the complete package this season and has arguably been the best defensive end in the ACC this season though Vic Beasley has a good case. Nicolas has had a great junior season and absolutely should be on the All-ACC First Team.