DE Dadi Nicolas Will Return for his Senior Season


Nov 28, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Cavaliers quarterback Greyson Lambert (11) is hit as he passes the ball as Virginia Tech Hokies defensive end Dadi Nicolas (90) and linebacker Deon Clarke (40) defend in the first quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of weeks ago, Virginia Tech defensive end Dadi Nicolas decided to submit paperwork to the NFL Draft Advisory Board. Of course, many top underclassmen submit paperwork just to see where they stack up, and whether it is actually in their best interest to leave college for the NFL. Last year, the Hokies did not have a single player declare for the draft early.

Now, it seems like that will likely be the case once again.

This is great news for Hokie fans that Dadi Nicolas will be back in Blacksburg for his senior season. Seth Dooley currently seems to be the top backup defensive end, and could use another year as a backup before likely becoming a starter in 2016. Ken Ekanem also has shown no interest in leaving for the NFL so the Hokies will have one of the top two or three duos of defensive ends in college football back next season.

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One thing that would be interesting to hear is what recommendation the NFL Draft Advisory Board gave Nicolas and how much of an impact that had on him. Nicolas may have been fairly set on returning to school, but wanted to hear where his draft stock was in case he was seen as a first-round pick. Nicolas is likely not a first-round pick just yet, but another year in Blacksburg can help him guarantee that he falls no lower than the second round in a future draft.

Nicolas had a season that should have got him on the All-ACC First Team, but he instead landed on the All-ACC Second Team. However, Nicolas will almost certainly end up on the Preseason All-ACC team for 2015 after having 63 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, 15 QB hurries, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 blocked kicks.

Nicolas’s return just about guarantees that the Hokies will have the best defensive line in college football entering next season. Corey Marshall also sent paperwork to the NFL Draft Advisory Board and even if Marshall decides to leave, the Hokies still have Nigel Williams along with the return of Luther Maddy plus some solid backups in Ricky Walker and Woody Baron.

Sep 6, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies defensive end Dadi Nicolas (90) against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Virginia Tech defeated Ohio State 35-21. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

One thing that another season can do for Nicolas is help him bulk up even more from his current 6’4”, 231-pound frame to around 245 pounds which would definitely get him closer to a prototypical weight for a 3-4 outside linebacker or 4-3 defensive end in the NFL. However, Nicolas is a great edge rusher that can run right by offensive tackles while also having enough strength to make some more traditional pass rush moves to get to the quarterback.

Nicolas also has a very high motor, and will do everything he can to make a play no matter the assignment even if that means he is used in pass coverage though Nicolas had some struggles in pass coverage this past season. Nicolas will also be a great example for the younger, backup defensive ends like Dooley, Dewayne Alford, Melvin Keihn, and Virginia Tech commits Trevon Hill, Darius Fullwood, and Houshun Gaines.

Virginia Tech has the potential to be the next TCU and having Dadi Nicolas back in Blacksburg definitely helps. Virginia Tech will have the best defensive line in college football next season led by the return of Nicolas.

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