The walk-on, something to prove stigma isn't what it was.
But the team-high 119 tackles linebacker Jack Tyler had last season for Virginia Tech as a junior will do that. Not that Tyler doesn't still have a few chores still.
Losing Bruce Taylor, Tyler is now the focal point of the linebackers at 'Mike.' It's also his job to help bring along the younger players who are still developing at linebacker.
"Bruce was hands down our leader last year," Tyler said. "It's always, not a problem, but it's always big to lose a guy like that. That's kinda where I need to step up and take his reins and that's what I'm trying to do over the spring, step into that leadership role and take over for this defense."
Tyler has already seen a lot of potential from the next wave of linebackers, which includes Deon Clarke, Ken Ekanem and Dahman McKinnon.
"It's kinda just teaching them the ropes," Tyler said. "A lot of these guys, they're just new. They don't really know the tempo of practice and how we play at the college level. That's the hardest thing for them, just learning the speed of the game and how we practice. We practice at game speed. I'm just preaching that to them and trying to get them to kinda come up to our level. That's the biggest thing."
Unlike on offense, there haven't been a lot of changes to the Hokies' defense. But the new high-tempo and intensity of the new offense and even overall practices has been a big difference from last season.
"The biggest thing is that the offense is going at such a higher pace and there's a lot more excitement," Tyler said. "I think that in turn, makes the defense a lot more exciting. I think we're having a lot more fun at practices this spring. Everyone's just more excited to be out there just because of the intensity that practice has."