BLACKSBURG, Va. – Not since 1993 has Virginia Tech failed to have at least one player selected in the NFL draft. This year two linemen appear to be the Hokies best shots at keeping the streak alive.
The bell cow of coach Bud Foster's defense for the past two seasons, defensive lineman Ricky Walker earned second team All-ACC honors last year. At 6 foot-2 inches tall and weighing nearly 300 pounds, the anchor of Virginia Tech's defensive line racked up 10 1/2 tackles for loss, but no invite to the NFL combine.
"This process as long. It started to hit me probably like a month ago, this draft process is really long, and not going to the combine made it even worse. Just sitting around watching them on TV and stuff it was kind of tough, but just more fuel to the fire. It made me work harder just to show these guys who I am and what I'm capable of," Walker said.
Hokies mammoth offensive lineman Joshua Nijman did get a combine invite. At 6-foot-seven, 324 pounds, he's got the ideal physical frame for the tackle position in the league. He hopes he also has the ideal story for his younger teammates to follow in pursuit of their NFL dreams.
"I think it's awesome, you know. I want to be an inspiration now to guys still in college to just follow your dreams if they want to play at the next level, you know. It'll be up to them to determine that but I feel like they all have it in them so," Nijman said.
The fourth through seventh rounds of the NFL draft are set for Saturday, April 27.