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With 56 days until ‘Operation #BeatBama commences in the Georgia Dome, we turn our attention to no. 56 on roster Mr. Zach Snell. Recruited alongside Brenden Motley out of Christiansburg High School in the 2012 recruiting class, Snell was a very important reason as to why that team went undefeated. Snell played both safety and running back for the Blue Demons. Now a rover here at Virginia Tech, Snell has already established a spot on the depth chart as a redshirt freshman. If he can continue to improve, he may give the Hokies a little more flexibility going forward in their secondary.
Weight: 189 lbs
High School: Christiansburg High School
High School Career
Snell, along with Motley, were the two best players for head coach Tim Cromer at Christiansburg High School. His senior season went extremely well statistically. The Southwest Virginia native ran for 1361 yards and 23 touchdowns. As a first team All-Timesland pick by the Roanoke Times, Snell turned down partial scholarships elsewhere to stay close to home and enroll at Virginia Tech. He also won a state title in basketball during his senior year.
Reasons For Excitement
Special Teams Demon: To be honest, Snell is going to have a tough road to travel if he ever wants to break into the starting lineup. He’s a tad on the small side and the Hokies are bringing in a lot of talent in the secondary in both the 2013 and 2014 recruiting classes. That depth chart is going to get a lot more crowded. However, Snell is the type of player that could excel on special teams. He needs to get stronger regardless and starting out on special teams could help him in his quest to be a contributor on defense.
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Causes For Concern
Lackluster Size: Running back and to an extent cornerback are the two positions where size doesn’t matter. At least it’s not as crucial as say offensive line and defensive tackle. Snell is on the small side at 5’10” and that hurts when you’re responsible for having to cover 6’6” tight ends over the middle. If he was two or three inches taller, Tech might have offered Snell a scholarship out of high school instead of having him walk-on. Thus is life for us 5’10” people.
What to Expect in 2013
Depth in the secondary is murky at best right now so I’m not going to rule out Snell from playing a limited role this season. A lot of that will depend on how other players perform in practice this fall. Desmond Frye switched from free safety to rover this spring and showed some promise. He’s a guy that could give us some solid depth at rover. Right now, I would place Snell behind him.
However, Snell is going to need to fend off whoever the rookie is at that position. I’m not sure where the coaches are going to slot Charles Clark or Anthony Shegog. Either one of those two players could start off their career at rover. Not only would that help Snell for when Jarrett leaves, it will allow either Clark or Shegog to redshirt.
Snell is a good athlete but he’s another walk-on “fighting the good fight.” He’ll be a contributor before his career is over with even if all of his snaps come on special teams.
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