Virginia Tech Top 5 Players


Virginia Tech Top 5 Players

The Virginia Tech football team quickly began to evolve from a mediocre team into a perennial powerhouse with the arrival of head coach Frank Beamer in the late 1980s. His style is now stamped all over the modern-day squads, often lead by a ferocious running game, a stingy secondary and marvelous play on special teams. We recently put together a list of the five greatest Virginia Tech football players of all time, and only one came before the arrival of Beamer.

#5 Shayne Graham K 1996-99

It is rare for a kicker to end up on one of our top five lists, and Shayne Graham actually went undrafted after graduating in 1999, but his performance over the course of his career spoke for itself. Graham shattered nearly every previous kicking record held at Blacksburg, including connecting on 97 consecutive extra points over the course of a few seasons. He was 17 – 22 on field goal attempts in his senior year, where he set Virginia Tech’s single-season record by scoring a total of 107 points.

#4 DeAngelo Hall DB 2001-03

DeAngelo Hall was a fierce competitor while playing for Virginia Tech, and opposing quarterbacks only threw in his direction when they were feeling gutsy. Equally capable of making a huge interception and a huge hit, Hall fueled a powerful Virginia Tech defense during the early years of the modern millennium. He was taken with the eighth overall pick in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft, and he has gone on to have a major impact on the professional level.

#3 Kevin Jones RB 2001-03

Running back Kevin Jones shredded defenses throughout the course of his time in Blacksburg, and his chiseled physique got the attention of professional scouts at a very early phase in his college career. Jones put together one of the most impressive seasons running the ball in Hokies history in 2003 when he amassed nearly 1,700 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns while getting about 6 yards per carry.

#2 Bruce Smith DE 1982-1985

Bruce Smith is the only player on this list to come along before the Frank Beamer era, but he is a very worthy recipient of the number two slot. Smith was simply a man among boys throughout his college career, playing the role of both the unstoppable force and the immovable object based on what the situation required.

#1 Michael Vick QB 1999-2000

To make a list of the greatest Virginia Tech football players of all time and exclude Michael Vick would border on a criminal act. It can be argued that Vick redefined the position of college football quarterback throughout his career at Virginia Tech, and dozens of highlight reels showing a collection of jaw-dropping runs against highly ranked opponents will allow fans to recall his glory days.

Virginia Tech Hits High Note To End Pitchy Season


Virginia Tech Hits High Note To End Pitchy Season

An up-and-down 2013 regular season that disappointed Hokies fans initially before pumping them full of hope in the first few weeks of October has officially come to a close with a 16 – 6 victory over the Cavaliers in Virginia.

After winning six of their first seven games, Virginia Tech has finished 8 – 4 overall and 5 – 3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. This was good enough for a third-place finish in a grouping that features the seemingly unstoppable Florida State Seminoles, the constantly competitive Clemson Tigers and the suddenly relevant Duke Blue Devils.

As has become custom for a Hokies team that is long on talent but also deep on drama, this past Saturday’s game was an unusual one. Quarterback Logan Thomas clearly saw the game as an opportunity to go out with a flourish following a season that has likely been a bit less than he expected. The Lynchburg, Virginia native certainly had dreams of putting together an illustrious 2013 season while building serious momentum that could carry him into the top few rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft. The reality of the situation is he will probably end up being either a late round pick or a free-agent signing.

Against the typically overmatched yet always feisty Cavaliers team, Thomas completed 13 of his 29 passes for 229 yards in a game that was actually dominated by the kickers. Virginia Tech connected on a 22-yard field goal early in the first quarter, and after Virginia scored a three pointer of their own, Eric Kristensen once again connected, this time from 30 yards to bring the score to 6 – 3.

This game was short on big plays and long on defense, and the teams traded field goals in the initial 30 minutes before Virginia Tech scored the first and only touchdown of the game after Thomas hooked up with Trey Edmonds on a 26-yard scoring strike that put the Hokies ahead 16 – 6.

Folks can be certain that both coaches emphasized the need for defense in the upcoming half during the short halftime break. This was a message that was heard loud and clear by both Virginia Tech and Virginia, and the final 30 minutes were completely devoid of any scoring. Turnovers, foolish penalties and missed opportunities were theme throughout a second half that was forgettable.

Nonetheless, coach Beamer and Virginia Tech will now head into the off-season on a high note, anxious and hopeful of recruiting a player that resembles the quarterback from Newport News, Virginia that inspired and kicked off a new era of Virginia Tech football.

Looking back on the season, there are many reasons for Hokies fans to be happy. A victory over Georgia Tech in late September stands as one of the most impressive feats of the season, and a dispatching of the North Carolina Tar Heels the following week was also impressive. A three-point loss at the hands of the aforementioned Blue Devils came as a shock in late October, but Duke has demonstrated that they clearly mean business. An 18-point victory in early November over the Miami Hurricanes also represents a high-water mark of achievement.

2013 Virginia Tech Top 5 Football Teams


2013 Virginia Tech Top 5 Football Teams

The Virginia Tech football program has been around since the late 19th century, and they turned themselves into a perennial contender in the mid-1980s after decades of toiling in mediocrity. They finished fourth or better in the Big East Conference every single year from 1993 to 2011. Here is a collection of the five best Virginia Tech football teams of all time.

#5 1986

In head coach Bill Dooley’s final year with the team and one of the University’s final as an conference independent, the Hokies were able to put together a 10 – 1 – 1 season, capped off by a 25 – 24 victory over the NC State Wolfpack in the Peach Bowl. Running backs Eddie Hunter and Maurice Williams combined to create a two-headed monster that was nearly impossible for opposing defenses to stop. Dooley left the team at the end of the season, paving the way for Frank Beamer.

#4 1995

Beamer took a few years to get his feet set in Blacksburg, and once he did the team started rattling off winning seasons on a regular basis. The first banner year that Beamer put together was in 1995, when the team finished first in the Big East and compiled a 10 – 2 record after losing the first two games of the season at home. The campaign ended with an 18-point victory over the Texas Longhorns in the Sugar Bowl, and the exposure gave Beamer valuable recruiting leverage.

#3 2009

Virginia Tech continued to post 10 and 11 win seasons following the departure of Vick. The 2008 team was a standout group, and even though they placed third in a very competitive Atlantic Coast Conference, they came up big down the stretch and defeated a very talented Boston College team in early December and a stacked Cincinnati Bearcats team in the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day.

#2 2000

2000 was superstar quarterback Michael Vick’s second year with Virginia Tech, and it was a year in which the Hokies had the attention of the entire sporting nation. Vick absolutely laid waste to drastically overmatched defenses over the course of the season, running for over 600 yards on just over 100 attempts and firing darts into the hands of wide receivers during various rollouts. The Hokies also played a hard-nosed, scrappy brand of defense, benefiting from blocked punts and field goals on a regular basis.

#1 1999

Of all the great squads led by Frank Beamer, the single greatest was the 1999 team. The season was Michael Vick’s first with the Hokies, and it was the single biggest and brightest year for Virginia Tech football and the city of Blacksburg in the history of the institution. Beamer built the program into a respected force, but it was the talent and highlight reel play of Vick that catapulted the team from the middle of the pack to an elite force in the NCAA.

Virginia Tech Football Local Traditions


 Virginia Tech Football Local Traditions

Fans of the Virginia Tech Hokies football team are some of the most passionate, loyal and vocal in all of college football. Blacksburg is a tightknit community that cares deeply about the success of their beloved Hokies football team, and a handful of traditions take place every Saturday during football season. A few of them were created in the last few decades during the team’s rise into a perennially successful national power. Here are the top six Virginia Tech football traditions.

The Lunch Pail

The Virginia Tech lunch pail is a symbol of defensive toughness. The thoroughly worked-over pail looks like it could have been used on a daily basis by a coal miner in the early-1900s. It was actually the creation of defensive coaches who wanted to bring a tangible symbol of the team’s toughness to campus. It can usually be found on the sidelines during home games and in the locker room before and after the affairs. The hand-painted ‘VT’ on the front side of the leather casing further establishes the blue-collar charm of this simple piece.

Team Walk

The football team is very accessible to the tens of thousands of fans that pack Lane Stadium for every home game. One of the biggest testaments to this is the Team Walk, a tradition that takes place beginning about two hours before kickoff. The entire team, coaching staff, dance teams, color guard squad and cheerleading squad are led by the marching band on a short journey from the athletic complex to the home team locker room.

Let’s Go Hokies!

This pregame chant gets everybody in the building wearing Virginia Tech colors or merchandise pumped up and ready for kickoff. While members of groups associated with pregame rituals are on the field conducting their business, opposing sides of the gigantic block-shaped stadium seating sections bellow alternating yells of “Let’s go!” and “Hokies!” The internal competition amidst the crowd perfectly foreshadows the on-field competition.

Enter Sandman

This tradition involving one of Metallica’s most celebrated songs was born around the turn of the millennium. The University made several improvements to Lane Stadium in the spring of 2000, and additional digital technologies that were unleashed to a thrilled crowd during the home opener included the song Enter Sandman. The reception was amazing, the atmosphere was bonkers and a brand-new tradition was born.

3rd Down Key Shake

Not exactly unique to Blacksburg, but it is a clear demonstration of the football savvy and passion of the fans in attendance at any given game. The entire student section and many in attendance take their keys out of their pockets leading up to every 3rd down play, shaking them vigorously in support of the VT defense and creating a metallic twang designed to disorient the opposing quarterback and unify the fans in attendance.

Skipper the Cannon

Skipper is a beautiful 19th century cannon that would be a local museum if were not given the prized honor of firing off an empty round to commemorate every Virginia Tech touchdown. No scoring drive is complete without a thunderous boom echoing throughout Lane Stadium. Furthermore game night is complete without a trip to a local watering hole for a few strong cocktails. Pk’s Bar & Grill, Big Al’s Grille & Sportsbar and Sharkeys are all within a mile due north of the field.

Hokie Homage To The Best: Mike Vick’s Two Seasons In Blacksburg


Hokie Homage To The Best: Mike Vick’s Two Seasons In Blacksburg

The long and illustrious history of Virginia Tech football can essentially be split into two categories; Before Michael Vick and After Michael Vick. The arrival of the Newport News native reenergized an already electric fan base, and his exploits on the field soon catapulted Virginia Tech to the top of the BCS rankings and right into the middle of the bright spotlight of national TV. Many fans consider 1999 to be one of the greatest seasons in Hokie history, and they were only a few bounces away from the school’s first National Championship in Vick’s first season under center.

It seems absolutely comical in hindsight, but head coach Frank Beamer opted to redshirt Vick during his first season on campus in 1998 in hopes of investing the year toward what was expected to be a handful of epic seasons. Beamer only got two out of Vick before he took off for the monetarily greener pastures of the National Football League, but in those few dozen games, college football fans all over the world bared witness to one of the greatest talents ever to play the quarterback position.

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to even win the Heisman Trophy following the 2012 season, but Vick put together what is arguably the best freshman campaign by a quarterback in the history of Division I college football throughout the fall of 1999. Opposing defenses unfortunate enough to draw Virginia Tech on their 1999 regular season schedule were simply not equipped for the speed, strength and agility that Michael Vick possessed. He was an absolute monster on the ground while executing read options and other designed quarterback runs, often blasting through traffic at the line of scrimmage and never looking back.

Defenders that attempted to take him down in the secondary were often juked or stymied with powerful stiffarms. When defensive coordinators would put 10 men in the box, Vick would simply drop back a few steps and fire a dart over the middle to one of his tight ends running down a seam or toss a deeper ball down the sidelines to a receiver who had sprung free. He quickly demonstrated one of the strongest arms in all of college football, completing nearly 60 passes for an average of over 11 yards per toss in his 1999 campaign.

Vick led the Hokies to an undefeated 1999 regular season, besting four ranked teams in the process. His exploits eventually led the Hokies to a #2 ranking and an opportunity at the National Championship, held at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans’ Superdome. Virginia Tech was caught a bit off guard by the #1 overall ranked Florida State Seminoles, but Vick was able to rally the troops for three consecutive touchdowns, which allowed them to take a slim 29 – 28 lead into the fourth quarter. The final 15 minutes were not memorable ones for Virginia Tech fans, but Vick had clearly brought the team into the national spotlight while getting the VT football team the closest it had ever been in their well over 100 years of playing college football.

Vick’s statistical levels tapered off in the following season as defenses focused their entire game plan around stopping the dynamic quarterback. He experienced the only regular season loss of his college career in early November against the Miami Hurricanes in the Orange Bowl in Florida, but he still led the team to another 11-victory season. Vick’s presence at the school led to a massive influx of recruits hopeful to wear the same colors as one of the greatest college football players in history, and his success at the professional level despite an up-and-down life off the field is a testament to his abilities. He remains a favorite on campus and among Virginia Tech fans, who are always ready to recognize his huge impact on the football program and the University as a whole.