Virginia Tech Football: 5 most valuable defensive players in 2023

Over the second half of the 2023 season, the Virginia Tech defensive unit had several players step up and make big contributions. Here are the five most valuable defenders for 2023.

Wake Forest v Virginia Tech
Wake Forest v Virginia Tech / Ryan Hunt/GettyImages
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Antwaun Powell-Ryland

What an addition Powell-Ryland was out of the transfer portal last offseason for Brent Pry and Marve from the University of Florida. Powell-Ryland solidified a defensive line that got better as the season went along and at times, he had to be double-teamed to be able to make it tough for him to get to the quarterback. He finished the regular season with 9.5 sacks, 39 tackles, and 22 solos.

Powell-Ryland forced three fumbles and recovered one himself. One week after Virginia Tech beat in-state rival Virginia, 55-17, on Nov. 25 to become bowl-eligible, Powell-Ryand announced on X that he was returning to Blacksburg next season with a major lift for the defensive line. Josh Fuga is also returning and added Aeneas Peebles from Duke in the transfer portal along with Kemari Copeland, the Hokies' defense should be near the top of the ACC next season in sacks once again.