Jayron Hosley spoke boldly in August of intercepting 10 passes or more and earning first-team All-America honors. And after a year in which he led the nation with nine picks was second-team Associated Press All-American, why not?
But Hosley’s junior season has not met his or his coaches’ expectations. Still, defensive backs coach Torrian Gray believes Hosley will declare early for the NFL draft.
No matter that his stock has dropped. No matter that he is not, according to most analysts, a first-round prospect.
Hosley and Tech tailback David Wilson are submitting paperwork to the NFL, which in turn will offer them feedback on their draft value.
“I can tell him, ‘Jayron it’s not the type of season that you probably want to have to leave out,’” Gray said. “For some kids, it doesn’t matter. Some kids will weigh the information … I don’t know if he was ever going to weigh the information. I think he was going to come out regardless.”
Hard to blame a young person so close to a lifelong dream for wanting to realize it ASAP. Or any person for that matter. As someone short on patience, I can certainly relate.
But there’s no denying Hosley’s dip this season, even before he injured his left hamstring while getting beat on a touchdown pass at Wake Forest on Oct. 15. The injury sidelined Hosley for the Hokies’ following game, against Boston College.
Entering the Jan. 3 Sugar Bowl against Michigan, Hosley has intercepted three passes, none since Oct. 1 against Clemson. Media voted him second-team All-ACC and he’s received no All-America mention.
In fact, Hosley hasn’t been Tech’s best cornerback. Kyle Fuller has.
“From a play-making standpoint, it’s hard to beat nine interceptions,” Gray said, “and he gave up a lot of plays this year that he didn’t give up … last year.”
To his credit, in moving from the field to boundary corner, Hosley became a much better and productive tackler. He has 33 solo stops and 59 total, compared to 34 and 39 last season.
“He got stronger in the weightroom,” Gray said. “He tackled better, was more physical.”
NFLDraftScout.com projects Hosley as the draft’s No. 42 prospect, which translates to the second round, and rates him the No. 6 cornerback, right behind Virginia senior Chase Minnifield.
A 1996 Tech graduate, Gray was a Minnesota Vikings second-round draft choice in 1997 as a safety and played three NFL seasons before retiring after three years because of a knee injury. He said he would advise Hosley if asked but considers the decision made.
“From everything he’s talked about preseason, even during the season, didn’t have the type of year we thought he would have. I just think that’s where his mindset’s at,” Gray said.
At 5-foot-10, Hosley lacks prototype size, but “still has the it factor as far playing the ball,” Gray said. “He’ll be a guy who can turn the ball over from the other teams, and I think that always carries value.”
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