BLACKSBURG — At 6-foot-2 and 285 pounds, Luther Maddy wasn’t the biggest defensive tackle during his time at Virginia Tech. But Maddy still managed to amass 14 sacks and 29.5 tackles for losses during his career, becoming an all-ACC player.
Maddy also was invited to New Orleans Saints camp and played in the Canadian Football League. He attributed his accomplishments to perfecting his technique.
That’s what Maddy stressed to Tech’s current defensive lineman when he worked them out this summer, an experience that reminded him of his senior season.
“I kind of played that role at Tech my last few years,” said Maddy, now 25. “Being one of the older guys, I tried to be a mentor to the young guys. I was toward the end of my career with football and wanted to pass on my knowledge.”
Maddy, who works in Lynchburg as a leasing specialist for a property management company, started training football players as a side business just over a year ago, when his brief stint in the CFL ended.
Living and working so close to his alma mater, Maddy decided to go to Blacksburg for a day in July. He worked out with a group of about eight athletes that included defensive tackle Ricky Walker and defensive ends Trevon Hill and Houshun Gaines.
“He called me like two days before,” Hill said. “He was like, ‘Do you wanna get some work in?’ I was like, ‘Hell yeah, let’s go. Let’s grind.’ ”
Maddy spent about two hours working with the Hokies at the team’s indoor practice facility, first focusing on resistance and plyometrics exercises designed to increase explosiveness, then shifting to do work on techniques like hand usage and pass-rush moves.
“Luther was an explosive guy,” said Hill, who redshirted in 2015, Maddy’s senior season. “He was low to the ground. He wasn’t the biggest guy height-wise, but he was a wide guy. So he worked on his techniques a lot. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Maddy was pleasantly surprised to learn the team’s young defensive linemen also knew who he was. Longtime Tech defensive line coach Charley Wiles had shown the current players video of Maddy and his teammates, at times, as he went over schemes and opposing offenses.
That background, combined with the obvious approval of players like Walker and Hill, helped Maddy connect with some of the team’s youngest defensive linemen, like Zion Debose and Tyjuan Garbutt.
“They showed a lot of respect. They were tuned into what I had to say and asked questions,” Maddy said. “They were really locked onto what I had to teach them. That was really good to see them wanting to get better.”
Maddy, who had his pro career derailed by injuries, including a broken hand while he was in Canada, said business for his MadAssist training company picks up in the spring and summer, then slows down in the fall, when players are in season. That’s given him the chance to come see his former teammates play. Maddy attended the Hokies’ home-opening win over William & Mary.
Virginia Tech (2-0) will have this weekend off after its scheduled game against East Carolina was canceled because of Hurricane Florence.
The defense, led by the line, has gotten off to a strong start. The Hokies lead the ACC in rush defense, giving up 64 yards per game (and only 2.2 yards per carry).
Hill is tied for second in the ACC with two sacks.
“I really miss playing at Tech and just playing football, period,” Maddy said. “But I also love what I’m doing now.”
His former coach thinks Maddy can have a positive impact on the next generation of Hokies defensive linemen.
“He wants to stay in the game. He’s an influential person, charismatic personality,” Wiles said. “There’s nothing negative about Luther.”