Talking Recruitment with Ricky DeBerry

I spoke with 6-3, 240 pound defensive end / outside linebacker Ricky DeBerry on Saturday morning. The 2015 cycle prospect was on his way to Charlottesville for a recruiting event. Ricky's played defensive end for the last two seasons at St. Christopher's School (Richmond, Virginia). "I normally don't play defensive end. My coach asked me to play there because he didn't necessarily trust anybody else in that position, and he asked me to play that for him the last two seasons. I normally play outside linebacker, sort of a pass rusher hybrid."

Over the course of our conversation DeBerry made it clear rushing the passer, whether it's at end in a 4-3, or OLB in 3-4 is extremely important to him and what he wants to do in college. His favorite pass rush moves are the swim and side scissors. He told me Virginia Tech is recruiting him to play defensive end.

DeBerry is going to try to visit Ohio State, Auburn, Miami, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Michigan State this spring before narrowing down his list of over 50-plus scholarship offers. He told me he plans on returning to Blacksburg on April 5th.

He said of Shane Beamer, "He definitely makes sure he stays on top of me with trying to come up to Virginia Tech. . . . He's always one of the first ones in the school. I appreciate everything he's done, and he's a good coach."

As for Tech's defensive coaches, "Coach Wiles, he's a great coach, and he does well with his defensive linemen. Bud Foster, his defenses are one of the top defenses in the country. He definitely knows how to use his players to get the best of their abilities as well."

His last visit to Tech was during the Maryland game.

His thoughts on the environment in Lane Stadium, "It was good. It was loud. The fans never shut down. They all contributed to make as much noise as possible to confuse the Maryland offense. They always sell out, no matter who they're playing, and I feel like that speaks volumes about what Virginia Tech football has been doing."

Ricky's highlights are available on his Hudl.


He certainly knows how to speak to the press. I couldn't tell at all how he feels about us from that. Very even-keeled young man.

But I totally hope we get him. I think everyone believes we could have the best defense EVER if Coach Bud gets elite athletes and elite depth who all fit what he's trying to do.

What's Important Now
The Lunchpail.
The Hammer.


...okay, there's too many "E"s there. Sorry.


I wish we were recruiting him for OLB. That would help our chances if this kid believes he has a future in the NFL

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson

I'd rather the coaching staff be honest with him. If we're recruiting him as a DL, that's what we're recruiting him as.

I'd be a much worse situation if we recruit him as a OLB, he commits, then in the fall we tell him "Actually we changed our mind. You're going to be a defensive lineman instead." It worked out for Logan Thomas, but the abrupt position change doesn't work out well in most situations.

BTW, defensive ends get paid more than outside linbackers in the the NFL. The kid probably wouldn't mind getting more money if he makes it.

Seems like he likes VT but wants to play OLB in a 3-4.

After speaking with him, that's not the read I got at all. 1) His recruitment is pretty open at this point. 2) The position he plays doesn't matter to him as long as he's rushing the passer.

If I had to guess, I'd say the coaches are selling him on being the next Dadi, a pass rusher that also blitzes the QB with his hand off the ground.

A much bigger Dadi, but yea, that's not a bad role. It'll be interesting how Bud, Wiles and company use Dadi and their other DEs and LBs this year. Will VT use the DE/LB-hybrid playmaker like they did against Pitt in more games? If so, then DeBerry would be the perfect successor to fill that role.

🦃 🦃 🦃

Well done, Joe. With the tape we're going to have of Dadi, this should be a great sales pitch.

Row Z forever.

From a recruiting standpoint, I hope he ends up a Hokie as I don't know of any other kids from the private schools in Richmond (other than Benedictine) on the roster or being recruited. It would be great to see the local talent not making the mistake of going to loluva.

I speak a little on this as a Richmond be blunt, the talent of the prep league is significantly lower than the public schools. There are always a couple of notable exceptions (i.e. Russell Wilson & Danny Coale but even they were 2-stars coming out). If you're recruiting philosophy is hinged on schools like Collegiate/St.Chris/WFU/STAB, you're pretty fucked.

Then again, I do like the attitude of a lot of those kids who coming out of the private schools. The majority have their head on straight, hard working and are goal-driven, but of course there are notable exceptions (I have examples in my head but I want to keep it classy).

That's good to hear. Perhaps I misread. Definitely has the measurables of an OLB/VT DE. Though I get the impression Bud would like to have larger DEs (if they are still quick, i.e. D. Hand, Sweat, Dooley, etc.).

The success of Worrilds, Gayle, and Anderson will be interesting to watch this year.

Worilds and now Gayle (if he's drafted) are evidence that DE's in our system can easily make that transition to 3-4 OLB in the NFL.

Wiley, Brown, Russell, Drakeford, Gray, Banks, Prioleau, Charleton, Midget, Bird, McCadam, Pile, Hall, Green, Fuller, Williams, Hamilton, Rouse, Flowers, Harris, Chancellor, Carmichael, Hosley, Fuller, Exum, Jarrett

1 player (maybe 2?) constitutes an "easy" transition?

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson

THIS. Bud is king, but honestly or DE's are OLBs and our OLBs are safeties. And recruits know it.

Our scheme produces monster D every year and wins, but it does not produce a plethora of NFL players at either of these positions.

I'm sure someone here can tell me why our D scheme doesn't work in the NFL?

Not a guru by any measure.

I think some teams have gotten smaller, quicker which allows them to spend less on some positions and more on others. These spend less players generally have specific roles they are expected to play. In other words they are not franchise players who can go out and play.

I thought G Williams was the closest thing to our D in the NFL. I think he landed upright and running somewhere. If true it will be interesting to see what he does with the players he inherits.

Gurus / non-gurus please weigh in and correct me.

French on the difference between Bud Foster's Defense and a traditional NFL 4-3: (found in the comments of this article)

It depends on which version of the 4-3. Some teams run a 2 gap scheme (which is much more difficult to get players for.) Basically, it requires two defensive tackles who can each command double teams. They tie up the center and both guards, allowing the middle linebacker to go unblocked sideline to sideline. The doubles on the interior also give the ends more flexibility to get upfield and rush the passer.

The one-gap 4-3 is a little more similar to the Hokies in that each defensive front 7 has gap responsibility, but in the NFL almost never does the radical stunting that the Hokies perform (the NFL lines are good enough to adjust and drive the stunting linemen off the ball.)

The biggest difference is how wildly the defensive responsibilities differ between the gap defense. The Hokies defense requires the DL to essentially "tie up" blockers and hold gaps. They are not supposed to be playmakers (except in the pass rush) but they have to be adept at maintaining leverage while stunting. They recruit nimble, short tackles, which you don't see in the NFL. Also, stud 6'6 265 DE's who want to play in the NFL, not tie up linemen so linebackers make plays. The middle backers have very little pass coverage responsibility, and spend significant time taking on blocks on the interior of a play. The Whip responsibilities seem to change as much as the skillsets of the players in the position. It really is an outlier as far as defenses, as much as Paul Johnson's wishbone is on offense.

I can't find the quotes but it has also been noted somewhere that elements of Bud Foster's defense were used by Seattle this past year, so some aspects certainly do work in the NFL.

The way I understand it, the secondary schemes Foster uses translate pretty well. I don't fully understand the subtlties behind it, but the key seems to be using a "quarters" coverage, but having one of the safeties playing very aggressive run support. I think this is what the Seahawks did with Kam Chancellor. It puts a lot of pressure on the rest of the secondary, but when the rest of the secondary is guys like Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman it can pay off.

I'd pay more attention to the stuff in block quotes because I don't know what I'm talking about, but I hope this helps.

Not the bagman VT deserves, but the bagman VT needs right now.

For most teams, Seattle's secondary schemes can't be run. But, when you coach up your secondary that well, you can leave them in those zones all game. Most other teams would probably be torched for running a similar scheme.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

I think more teams will be copying the success of Seattle's defense this year for several reasons; Defense wins championships, and defenders cost less than offensive players.

In regards to Seattle's championship D (and lets face it, their offense is NFL mediocre at best,) it is based around a superior secondary, similar to VT. With that kind of talent on the backside, you can stack the box, rush the passer and get your linemen in the backfield to force mistakes. Run defense in the NFL seems almost irrelevant these days, though Seattle had to make sure their run D was ready for the NFC CG against the 49ers, one of the best rushing teams in the league (a traditional jumbo Stanford-type squad, but with the bonus of a dual-threat QB.)

I think Bud Foster's scheme would work just fine on the NFL level with the right talent, and I think more teams will be investing in their secondary to copy the success of Seattle and Arizona (an 11-5 squad last year with a sub-par offense which relied on its secondary.)

"When you're green, you're growing. When you're ripe, you rot." -Ray Kroc

It really is an outlier as far as defenses, as much as Paul Johnson's wishbone is on offense.

This has always been the cause of concern for me. We can safely assume that more dubious recruiters say GT players don't translate to NFL because of scheme, and so I also believe they say the same about our defense. Save for DBU graduates of course. That being said I am 100% in awe of Bud's genius and will follow him into hell.

We don't get all that many NFL prospects on our DL but the guys who are demonstrate their talent by being multi-year playmakers at DE for us generally do get drafted (unless they're totally undersized like Corey Moore). See Engleberger, Tapp, Ellis, Worilds, Gayle (tbd).

Wiley, Brown, Russell, Drakeford, Gray, Banks, Prioleau, Charleton, Midget, Bird, McCadam, Pile, Hall, Green, Fuller, Williams, Hamilton, Rouse, Flowers, Harris, Chancellor, Carmichael, Hosley, Fuller, Exum, Jarrett