Last week Virginia Cavaliers linebacker Micah Kiser earned the Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week award after a 15-tackle, two-sack performance against UConn. Safety Quin Blanding was second on the team with 9 tackles. Both defenders appeared in a combined 12 award watch lists before the season and they have been living up to the hype so far. This defensive dynamic duo has put up some eye-popping stats and are closing in on some UVA records as well.
Blanding has recorded 391 tackles in his career, which is the most of any active player in FBS. That number already ranks 38th of any FBS player since 2000 and the star safety still has at least nine more games to play this season. Blanding’s career total ranks him fourth on UVA’s all-time tackles list, only 44 tackles away from the all-time leader, Jaime Sharper. The defensive back also has six career interceptions. Since 2000 only 20 players in FBS have 375 career tackles and six career interceptions, a list which includes stars like Luke Kuechly and Manti Te’o.
The other half of the defensive duo, Micah Kiser, has put up incredible numbers as well. His career total of 302 tackles is equally impressive, considering it ranks fifth among active players in FBS and he mostly played special teams his freshman year. Micah is currently tenth on the all-time Virginia sack list with 19. With six more sacks in the season, Kiser could crack the top five, but Chris Slade’s #1 mark of 40 would seem out of reach.
This combination of career tackles and sacks also puts Kiser in some elite company. Micah is one of only seven players since 2000 to record 300 career tackles and 19 sacks, among notable linebackers like Jamie Collins and reigning NFL defensive player of the year Khalil Mack. Kiser is the only one of those seven that played in a power conference. Micah’s performance vs. UConn was the fourth time he has recorded 10 or more tackles and two or more sacks in a game. No player in FBS has done that more times since 2000.
Pulling off an upset against Boise State this week will be a tough task, but with this dynamic duo at the helm on defense, hopefully the Hoos will prevail.