Virginia Tech’s Deablo, Hodge, Ashby earn preseason honors
Virginia Tech safety Divine Deablo and wide receiver Changa Hodge were included on the Reese’s Senior Bowl Top 250 released Thursday afternoon, while linebacker Rayshard Ashby earned third team Preseason All-America honors from Athlon Sports.
Deablo started all 13 games at free safety during the 2019 season and finished second on the squad with a career-best 84 tackles (42 solo). The redshirt senior also had an interception, a forced fumble and a 98-yard fumble return for a TD.
Deablo was selected to wear Coach Beamer’s number 25 jersey twice during the season in the contests against ODU (9/7) and against vs. Wake Forest (11/9). He enjoyed a monster game at Notre Dame (11/2) and was named ACC Defensive Back of the Week. He picked off a pass and recovered a fumble forced by LB Rayshard Ashby and returned it for a 98-yard TD. Deablo was named to the PFF College ACC Team of the Week after posting four tackles in a 28-0 win vs. Pitt (11/23) and posted a season-best 11 tackles at Virginia (11/29).
Hodge led Villanova in receiving a year ago and was one of the most dynamic receivers at the FCS level in 2019, posting 65 catches and going over the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career with 1,118 yards and 13 TDs. Those 13 TDs tied for sixth among FCS players while his 1,118 yards tied for 14th.
The East Stroudsburg, Pa., native played in 31 contests for the Wildcats in four seasons that included an injury-shortened 2017 campaign. He totaled 99 catches for 1,685 yards (17.0 avg.) with 15 TDs. Hodge registered five 100-yard receiving games at Villanova, including an eight-catch, 236-yard outburst with four TDs vs. Delaware (11/23/19).
Ashby was named ACC Linebacker of the Week five times in 2019. The Chesterfield native was the only defensive player in the league to win that many ACC POW honors in 2019. Ashby was a second-team All-ACC selection and finished third in the voting for ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
Ashby led the league with 120 total tackles and ranked third in the ACC with 17.0 tackles for loss. Ashby led a VT defense that helped the Hokies become the first ACC team to post back-to-back shutouts against Power Five foes for the first time since 1978 and holding Georgia Tech and Pitt scoreless in consecutive outings.