August 1, 2008
Hokie Football Outlook, Part V
Linebackers
LinebackersReturners
No. Name Cl. Pos.
26 Cody Grimm r-Jr. OLB
89 Jonas Houseright r-Sr. ILB
41 Cam Martin r-Jr. OLB
46 Dylan McGreevy Sr. OLB
  Mark Muncey r-Jr. ILB
40 Hunter Ovens r-Fr. ILB
52 Barquell Rivers r-Fr. ILB
45 Purnell Sturdivant r-Sr. ILB
33 Brett Warren r-Sr. ILB

Newcomers

  Name Cl. Pos.
  Xavier Boyce Fr. OLB
  Lyndell Gibson Fr. LB
  Jake Johnson Fr. LB
  Quillie Odom Fr. LB
  Allen Stephens Fr. LB
  Bruce Taylor Fr. LB

Headlines

  • Key Losses: Mike linebacker Vince Hall and backer Xavier Adibi

  • Key Returner: Whip linebacker Cam Martin is the only returning starter among the linebacking corps. He finished fifth in tackles last season with 78, including 4.5 sacks. Tech's coaches expect him to be a leader.

  • Battle to watch: Redshirt senior Jonas Houseright and redshirt freshman Hunter Ovens are the top candidates for the important No. 2 spot at the backer position. Houseright has the advantage of experience and size, and more importantly, has earned the coaches' trust over time. Ovens is still learning, but has all the tools. Incoming freshmen could join the mix as preseason performances become a key factor.

  • Spring standout: After paying his dues as a backup the past three seasons, Purnell Sturdivant stepped up and showed the coaches he is ready to fill some big shoes at the backer position for the Hokies.

Players
Mike Linebacker
BRETT WARREN (r-Sr.) - Stepped in and played a big role last year when Vince Hall got hurt ... Followed that with a solid spring ... Has developed into a complete linebacker ... Is physical and tough with a great nose for the football ... Will be counted on to be a leader.

BARQUELL RIVERS (r-Fr.) - A good young prospect with an excellent upside ... Moved into the No. 2 spot with steady improvement during spring practice ... Was named the team's top defensive newcomer.

As a group, we have some significant holes to fill, but at the same time, I think we have quality people who will fill those holes. Brett Warren and Purnell Sturdivant had outstanding springs. Coming out of spring practice, I felt we answered some questions. We found our top two. Now my concerns are with our depth. The biggest question mark we have is not so much ability as it is lack of experience. I think you are going to see us grow and improve each week as a linebacking corps.

- Coach Foster on the Inside Linebackers

Last year, I was the one breaking in new guys and new backups. This year they are all back, so I have the luxury of more depth compared to the other defensive positions. At whip, Cam Martin did very well during the spring and so did Cody Grimm. They will both play in the fall. It's important to have a valuable backup like Cody. I have no problem with either of them being in the game.

- Coach Cavanaugh on the Whip Linebackers

Backer
PURNELL STURDIVANT (r-Sr.) - Took over the top spot on the depth chart with a strong spring showing ... A fast, powerful player with all of the tools ... Hokies will be looking for him to play up to his potential on a consistent basis.

JONAS HOUSERIGHT (r-Sr.) - A solid player who the coaches trust ... Was in on several key series at Clemson ... Has improved every year and gotten bigger and stronger.

HUNTER OVENS (r-Fr.) - Moved over from whip to backer for the spring ... Coaches think his talents will show a little more by getting him closer to the ball ... Has the ability that the position demands, just needs to be more assertive.

Whip
CAM MARTIN (r-Jr.) - A good all-around player ... Started 13 of 14 games last year at whip after being moved from free safety ... Had a tremendous spring ... Makes good decisions and plays with confidence ... Is expected to be a leader on defense this season.

CODY GRIMM (r-Jr.) - Saw action in all 14 games, starting one, last season ... Played well in the ACC Championship and Orange Bowl games ... Ranks as a solid tackler with good speed ... A valuable commodity who can move right in and start at whip or compete for the backer position.

DYLAN MCGREEVY (Sr.) - A walk-on who made tremendous improvement last season ... Will provide addtional depth and also contribute through special teams.

Taken from the Virginia Tech 2008 Football Media Guide which went to print in mid-June

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