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Hokies Ashby, Farley named among nation’s best defensive players

VT linebacker Rayshard Ashby (L) and cornerback Caleb Farley have been named to the Bednarik Award Watch List.

Virginia Tech linebacker Rayshard Ashby and cornerback Caleb Farley were named to the Bednarik Award Watch List Monday, given annually to the outstanding defensive player in college football.

Ashby (5-10, 237) was named ACC Linebacker of the Week five times in 2019. The Chesterfield, Va., native was the only defensive player in the league to win that many ACC POW honors in 2019. Ashby was a second-team All-ACC selection and finished third in the voting for ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He led the league with 120 total tackles and ranked third in the ACC with 17.0 tackles for loss. He led a VT defense that helped the Hokies become the first ACC team to post back-to-back shutouts against Power Five foes for the first time since 1978 and holding Georgia Tech and Pitt scoreless in consecutive outings.

A summary of Ashby’s season honors earned in 2019: All-ACC Second Team, Phil Steele First-Team All-ACC, PFF College ACC Team of the Week (9/2, 11/25), ACC Linebacker of the Week (9/2, 10/7, 10/21, 11/4, 11/25), PFF National Defense of the Week (11/24), PFF College ACC Team of the Year (12/2) and TD Club of Richmond LB of the Year (12/16).

Farley (6-2, 207) blossomed into one of the ACC’s top cornerbacks in just his second season playing that position after serving as a high school quarterback. A first-team All-ACC pick in 2019, he led the ACC with 16 passes defensed and was among the nation’s best, averaging 1.5 passes defensed per game. He was tied for second in the ACC with four interceptions and registered a 17-yard interception return touchdown in the 45-0 shutout of Georgia Tech (11/16). The Hickory, N.C., native posted a career-high four passes defensed in the 43-41 six-OT win vs. North Carolina (10/19).

A summary of Farley’s season honors earned in 2019: All-ACC First Team, Phil Steele First-Team All-ACC, PFF College ACC Team of the Week (10/8, 11/1, 11/18, 11/25, 12/2), ESPN.com All-ACC Midseason Team and PFF College National Team of the Week (11/18).

 

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