Who will be the most important to getting the Justin Fuente era off to a good start? As we've done the previous three seasons at our previous home, we've counted down the players we believed were most important to Virginia Tech's success. And this season is no different, as we've compiled the top 16 for 2016.
Each of our staff members compiled a list of who they believed were the 16 most important players for the Hokies this season. Each player then earned a score based on where each staff member ranked them (16 points for a first place vote, 15 points for second place, 14 points for third place, etc.) and the points were added up for a true staff ranking. Tiebreakers included most higher votes and most overall votes.
For each of the next 16 days, we'll reveal each of our top players. Be sure to chime in on our message board with your thoughts and who you think should be the most important players this season.
No. 10 Chuck Clark
Jason Stamm, Publisher
There's no way you can have a top list and not include the guy who led Virginia Tech in tackles last season. That's especially the case when that guy was all over the field in doing so.
Clark was the most consistent, dependable defender the Hokies had last season. While others, such as Dadi Nicolas and Luther Maddy had their moments, it was Clark who routinely was the one making the big play-saving tackle. He had 30 tackles more than the next closest defender for Virginia Tech.
That definitely has to continue this season, at least close to it, for the Hokies to have success on defense. The secondary has returners in Adonis Alexander, Mook Reynolds, Greg Stroman and Terrell Edmunds, but besides Stroman, those guys are a few years younger.
Clark has the experience to be an exceptional leader. And even without assistant coach Torrian Gray, for 'DBU' to continue to be a calling card for Virginia Tech, Clark needs to continue to be in the right place at the right time, in making tackles and helping his younger, fellow defensive backs.
Max Esterhuizen, Editor
Clark was named to the Bednarik Award watch list for the 2016 season, which is given annually to the nation’s top defensive back. Clark will need to be the anchor of the secondary and show the veteran leadership that is expected of a senior.
Clark will most likely draw the matchup of the opposing team’s best receiver – and he will need to be successful in order for the defense to be a solid unit. Clarke started all 13 games last season and recorded 107 tackles and one interception. He’ll need to build on those numbers to have a good senior season.
Kelly Porazzo, Staff Writer
Clark proved to have impressive game skills totaling in the most tackles (107) for Virginia Tech last season. I view Clark as a strong, key player on defense that not only executes the plays, but also acts leader with his three years of experience. Clark was extremely influential last season, particularly with his interception at Virginia, which sealed the deal to extend the Hokies' bowl streak to 23.