2020 Virginia Football Emerging Stars: Defense & Special Teams

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Wide receiver Terrell Jana and center Olusegun Oluwatimi are the emerging stars of the offense, those players who were significant factors in 2019 and have the chance to make a greater impact in the upcoming season. How about the defensive side of the ball?

Noah Taylor was a major playmaker for Virginia football’s defense in 2019. He has the chance to take his performance even further in 2020. ~ Photo credit: Matt Riley of Virginia Sports

Noah Taylor, Outside Linebacker, Junior

According to Pro Football Focus, outside linebacker Noah Taylor played 673 defensive snaps for Virginia in 2019. That’s 663 more snaps than he received as a true freshman the year before. He made the most of his increased opportunities, enjoying a breakout sophomore campaign for the Hoos.

Taylor finished the 2019 season as Virginia’s team leader in tackles for loss with 13.5, and he was second on the team behind Jordan Mack with 7 sacks. He added four pass breakups and two interceptions. The 6’5”, 220-pound Taylor displayed impressive versatility, earning praise in that regard from Bronco Mendenhall and Kelly Poppinga.

“If the prospect’s not versatile, I don’t recruit ‘em,” said Poppinga, Virginia’s Co-Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers Coach.