Amaré Barno had a breakout campaign in 2020 in his first season as a defensive end after moving to that spot from linebacker. Barno was an All-ACC Honorable Mention selection last season after leading all Power Five players with 16 tackles for loss, including 6.5 sacks.
The Blythewood, S.C., native played in all 11 games last year with six starts. He got off to a hot start with eight tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in the first five games.
With last season’s experience under his belt and a full spring working at the position, his trajectory should go nowhere but up.
While the Hokies hope Barno continues his rapid development as an edge rusher, the addition of
Clemson transfer Jordan Williams to the interior of the defensive front could be intriguing. The Virginia Beach native produced 55 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, and 4.0 sacks during his stint with his Tigers. He figures to be part of an interior line rotation that includes Mario Kendricks, Norell Pollard, and Josh Fuga. Kendricks and Pollard are both Florida natives who flourished under Bill Teerlinck last season and should only benefit from the addition of J.C. Price to Tech’s staff. TyJuan Garbutt started 11 games for the Hokies in 2019 and came on down the stretch. He owns 62 career tackles with ten tackles for loss and two sacks.
What is unclear, though, is whether he’ll be able to return after an injury cost him the final half of 2020.
Emmanuel Belmar owns 29 career starts and earned ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors following a three-sack performance at Duke last year.
Defensive line coach Bill Teerlinck made an immediate impact in his first season with the Hokies as Tech ranked sixth in the nation with 36 (3.27 per game) to rank ninth among football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) squads.
Of Barno’s 16 tackles for loss in 2020, 14 were solo efforts, the second-highest total among all
The Hokies ranked 10th in the Power Five in 2020 with 76 tackles for loss, with 65 percent of those coming from the defensive line.
Teerlinck and Price developed a solid rapport in the spring, and it was evident that their players enjoy working with them. While Barno will deservedly get plenty of preseason hype, Tech needs solid work from the interior quartet of Kendricks, Pollard, Williams, and Fuga.
After missing the early portion of 2020, a healthy and inspired Garbutt could provide a nice bookend to Barno at defensive end. Unquestionably, the Hokies will need other players to step and take quality snaps throughout the year.
Jaylen Griffin, Maxx Philpott, and Eli Adams all saw duty a year ago and could help keep Tech’s frontline players fresh.