Strong secondary a tradition at Virginia Tech

HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Virginia Tech’s Bud Foster began rattling off names: DeAngelo Hall. Brandon Flowers. Kam Chancellor.

All NFL Pro Bowlers, and all former Hokie defensive backs who played in Foster’s defense. Kyle Fuller, a cornerback selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft by the Chicago Bears, could be the next to rise to that level.

The impressive list has some Virginia Tech fans calling the school DBU (Defensive Back University).

Kyshoen Jarrett, Detrick Bonner, Kendall Fuller and Brandon Faycson — this year’s starting secondary — hope to carry on the tradition.

Jarrett and Bonner are seniors, and the younger Fuller and Faycson are sophomores.

“Kids want to go someplace where you’ve got a great tradition and that’s the one thing we’ve developed here is a great defensive tradition, a great mindset,” Foster said. “We’ve developed a great culture here. The expectations don’t change … I hope that’s why kids want to come to Virginia Tech.”

Foster has been the defensive coordinator in Blacksburg since 1996.

Asked to name the best defensive back during his time at Virginia Tech, he settled on Flowers. He played six seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and now is with the San Diego Chargers.

Foster said it wasn’t an easy choice.

“We have some special guys that have come through here,” he said.

Hall plays for the Washington Redskins and has 43 career interceptions in 11 seasons. He has scored nine career touchdowns on interception and fumble returns. Chancellor is entering his fifth season with the Seattle Seahawks. He intercepted Denver’s Peyton Manning in the 2013 Super Bowl and had nine tackles.

Kyle Fuller would have been a contender for “best ever” status had he not been nagged by injuries with the Hokies, Foster said, and Kyle’s brother, Kendall, still has a chance to top the charts.

“I’m hoping in a couple years, he’s going to be the best one,” Foster said. “He’s a lot like Brandon Flowers, a lot like his brother. He’s a little bigger, a little more physical, I think, than Kyle can be.

“So he’s kind of in that line with Brandon, being a physical guy at the point of attack.”

Kendall Fuller was the Atlantic Coast Conference’s defensive rookie of the year last season, when he started 12 of the Hokies’ 13 games and had six interceptions. He was a second team All-ACC choice.

“He still hasn’t reached his potential yet,” Foster said.

Another former star under Foster, Torrian Gray, played three years in the NFL and now coaches the secondary for Virginia Tech. With three impressive freshmen on the team, he sees no drop-off in the defensive backfield.

“You get talented guys, you coach them well and we’ve just happened to have guys turn out well and be successful,” he said, adding that he expects Jarrett and Bonner to both be in the NFL next season.

“We just kind of run with it.”

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