Virginia Tech Football: Hokies CB ends the season ranked on ESPN list

Virginia Tech defensive back Dorian Strong was ranked in ESPN's Top 100 list for college football players in 2023.
Pittsburgh v Virginia Tech
Pittsburgh v Virginia Tech / Ryan Hunt/GettyImages

Following the Thanksgiving Weekend game where Virginia Tech beat Virginia, 55-17, Hokies cornerback Dorian Strong had a decision to make. His choices were to declare for the NFL Draft or return to Blacksburg in 2024.

One week after the final regular season game, his father posted on X that if Virginia Tech fans wanted him back, to let him know it. They did and Strong heard. In December, the junior announced on X that he was returning in 2024 with his teammates.

It was a big decision for Hokies coach Brent Pry and defensive coordinator Chris Marve to get their shutdown defender back and Wednesday, he finished the 2023 season cracking a list that he was not ranked on at the beginning of the season.

Dorian Strong ranked in ESPN's Top100 players for 2023

ESPN released their Top 100 players of the 2023 season and Strong finished 80th on the list. Here is what they said about the All-American.

"Strong emerged as one of the top cornerbacks in the ACC this past season, with eight pass breakups and three interceptions. Strong led the nation in lowest completion percentage allowed and was second in yards per target. He has announced he will return to the Hokies for next season.''

There was a reason why his numbers were what they were, nobody threw his way, and game planned to throw them away from him. Everyone except Boston College. In the Nov. 11 game in Boston, the Strong had two interceptions of Eagles' quarterback Thomas Castellanos in the first quarter and the Hokies offense turned those picks into 10 points.

His first one was on the game's first place from scrimmage and then at the end of the opening quarter, Strong picked off Castellanos downfield, which turned into a Bhayshul Tuten touchdown run.

Strong isn't the only player in the secondary coming back next season as Mansoor Delane is also returning in Blacksburg. Virginia Tech's defense is shaping up to be a better group in 2024 than it was in 2023.