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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Dorian Strong

As the season went along, the Hokies secondary got better as a group. Strong was one of the most consistent players all season long and he finished with 21 tackles, 14 solo, and three interceptions. Two of his picks came at Boston College on Nov. 11 in a 48-22 win over the Eagles. He picked off BC quarterback Thomas Castellanos on the game's first play, then later in the opening quarter, he had his second interception. Virginia Tech's offense turned the two INTs to 10 points.

Following the Virginia game, Strong's father posted on X that if Hokies' fans wanted him to return in 2024, let him know it and of course, they did. He recently announced that instead of declaring for the NFL Draft, he was going to come back to Virginia Tech in 2024. Out of all the Hokies who announced they are returning next season, the case can be made that Strong is the most important one. There was a reason he had just 22 tackles this season and three picks. The opposing team's game planned was to throw away from him, a sign of well-deserved respect.