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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Nasir Peoples

Peoples was a staple in the Virginia Tech secondary in his career, but even though he missed some time with injuries, he was still a major presence. He had 23 tackles, 15 solo, but according to Marve, "He was like a coach on the field.'' Like Strong, the teams game planned to throw away from him because of the presence of the sixth-year senior from Abington, Pennsylvania. When he was on the field, he played through injuries to play a big role in the Hokies finishing the season strong to become bowl-eligible.

Peoples played two a pair of injuries late in the season to help Virginia Tech earn an extra month together. He played the second half of the season with a brace on his left knee, then played against Virginia with a broken thumb. He had ACL surgery following the Virginia game and will not play in the Military Bowl next week, but regardless, he left a big impression on Pry.

“Nasir is one of the toughest guys I’ve ever coached,” Pry said. “He had a broken thumb. Played the week before UVa, he played that game (against NC State). And then he played the UVa game with this thing. And then he had ACL surgery. He’s played with the knee thing, he’s played with the hand thing and just kept on gutting it out. It was just time to get him fixed for his future and what he wants to do. So he obviously won’t play in the bowl game.”

He will be missed against Tulane, but playing through those injuries has set the Hokies up for the future with the extra practice and bowl game they have against the Green Wave.