As part of our 2012 season review, we’re counting down the top 25 players in the ACC this season, from no. 25 to no. 1. Obviously these lists are always completely subjective — and thus completely bulletproof, obviously — so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments, too.
On a Virginia Tech defense full of big names, it’s not surprising that Tyler managed to fly under the radar for this long. And yet, even after a huge season in which he racked up 119 tackles, he remains a hidden gem of that same defense. Amazingly, Tyler was absolutely everywhere on the field. Over 13 games, he never had less than seven tackles in one contest, and four separate times he recorded double-digit tackles. Not just one to take down a ball-carrier after the line missed their chance, he also had 2.5 sacks and three pass deflections. Quick and aggressive, his 6’1″, 236-pound frame may appear small to pro evaluators, but at Tech, he’s only gotten better over time. During his sophomore season, he played extended minutes just once — and yet, managed to make 12 tackles while recording a sack against Georgia Tech. So how much of a surprise was this, really? To those who watched that one game against the Yellow Jackets in 2011, none. As a senior, it’s now likely he’ll be considered among one of the best linebackers in the country.