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With 41 days left until Virginia Tech takes the field against Appalachian State, we turn our attention to number 41 on the roster, Mr. Derek DiNardo. DiNardo is still searching for his spot on defense and it appears that he’s found a home at free safety. He intercepted a pass this spring and looked more comfortable in the secondary then he did at WHIP Linebacker. DiNardo is another walk-on to keep an eye on over the next few years. While he won’t likely be a starter anytime soon, he should be a major contributor on special teams and could even be a backup at either free safety or rover in the future.
Weight: 208 lbs
Position: Free Safety
High School: Cox High School
How Did He Get Here
Out of Cox High School, DiNardo was a talented player, winning the Beach District Offensive Player of the Year during his senior season. He also set a record for interceptions during his sophomore year with eight. So, DiNardo has plenty of talent but he was passed over by a lot of schools because of his size. He played at about 180 pounds his senior year and most college coaches thought he was a tweener. Then enters Virginia Tech with a preferred walk-on offer and DiNardo accepted it in January of 2010.
Out of all the walk-ons we have on our team I still feel like DiNardo has the best upside of all of them. While he’s not going to be a physically impressive player, he does have the natural instincts you look for when you’re selecting players to offer walk-on spots too. I was hoping DiNardo would stay at WHIP linebacker but he doesn’t quite have the frame to play it. After watching him a bit this spring, he just seems like a more natural defensive back than he does linebacker.
As a freshman, I don’t expect the Cox High School standout to see much playing time. He’s still buried below most of the scholarship players at free safety and he’ll likely backup a few of the starters on special teams. With plenty of time to mature and improve, DiNardo is certainly a name to remember in the future.
Being named to the 2nd team All-State team as a senior.
Not being offered a single scholarship. For a kid with the pure instincts DiNardo has, somebody like JMU or ODU should have offered this kid.
Completely made up fact
DiNardo has made it his mission here at Virginia Tech to play at least every position once. So far, he’s been a tight end, linebacker, cornerback, and safety. Next year, he’ll try out at wide receiver, quarterback, and running back.
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