This 2021 College Football season has not gone the way the Hokie players and fans wanted. With the season coming to a close in a few weeks with little hope for a postseason bowl game, most fans are mentally preparing for next season. One player looking forward to a brand new start in the 2022 season is senior mike linebacker Dax Hollifield, who confirmed on Tuesday that he will be returning to Virginia Tech next season. Hollifield will be his extra year of eligibility next season for Virginia Tech.
Hollifield has been one of the key reasons the Hokies’ defense ranks 33rd in the nation in points allowed per game (21.8) and 27th in passing yards allowed per game (178.9). There was no doubt that the Hokies would be highly efficient at defending against the passing game due to their stacked secondary. Additionally, they were expected to make progress at defending against the run as they were ranked 83rd in rush defense (181.5 rushing yards allowed per game).
Unfortunately, this has not been the case this season as the defense for Virginia Tech. They have been forced into many terrible situations due to the inefficiency of the offense and the ill-prepared coaching staff, outside of defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton.
Hollifield has accumulated 63 total tackles, 23 solo tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and one interception in nine games this season for Virginia Tech. One of his best games of the season is when he accounted for eight total tackles, two tackles for loss, and half a sack in the 35-14 week two win over Middle Tennessee State. Hollifield is one of the Hokies’ most consistent and most reliable defensive players this season. In addition, he is a veteran vocal leader for a Hokies defense that is full of high-caliber talent.
It is clear that the team has been frustrated with how the season has gone, including Hollifield. Players like Hollifield and nickelback Chamarri Conner have put their faith in the coach of Hamilton.
The Hokies will lose several talented players on both sides of the ball, either through graduation, transferring, or leaving early for the 2022 NFL Draft. For an experienced leader like Hollifield to confirm he is returning is enormous for the program moving forward, even if they get a new head coach to lead the team in 2022.