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James Gayle is returning to Virginia.
The Redskins signed him today to a Reserve/Futures contract.
The 6-foot-3, 255 pounder grew up in Hampton, Va., and was considered the 25th best strong side defensive end in the nation at Bethel High School.
He accepted a scholarship to play with Virginia Tech, where he had a formidable career on the defensive line.
After redshirting his freshman year, Gayle increased his tackles each successive season, compiling 44 as a senior and earning an All-ACC honorable mention.
He collected 138 tackles and 22 sacks in his four years as a Hokie.
Gayle was projected to be drafted last May but was never selected. Most coaches at the winter combine thought his body type would be better suited for the linebacker position in a 3-4 scheme.
He was eventually signed by the Tennessee Titans but didn’t make the final roster cut. With a year of experience now training as a linebacker, though, he could be a promising fit into the Redskins’ defensive plans.
Gayle’s uncle is Shaun Gayle, a 12-year veteran and Super Bowl champion as a Pro Bowl safety with the infamous 1985 Bears defense.
During their Super Bowl run, he was credited with returning the shortest punt (five yards) for a touchdown against the New York Giants in their divisional round playoff victory.
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