Virginia Tech Football: Vick and the 15 Most Beloved Figures in Team History
Virginia Tech football has a long and storied history; filled with ups and downs, few schools have been through as much drama in football as Virginia Tech.
Some huge NFL names have come out of this program, but NFL or not, the Hokies' fans adore the team, from the lowliest reserve kicker to the flashiest quarterback. Without further ado, here are the 15 most beloved figures in team history.
15. Henry Redd
Henry Redd was the second winningest coach in Virginia Tech Football history, behind only the great Frank Beamer. He was inducted into the Hokies' hall of fame in 1986.
He served as the coach of the football program from 1932 to 1940.
14. Brandon Flowers
A two time All-American, Brandon Flowers also led the ACC in passes defended (21), and passes broken up (18) in his junior season.
He has also brought recognition to the Hokies' program by establishing himself as one of the elite defensive backs in the NFL during his tenure with the Kansas City Chiefs.
13. Eddie Royal
Eddie Royal was one of the more prolific receivers in Virginia Tech Football history.
After a productive four years in the Hokies' program, he finished first in career all-purpose yards in school history (4,686), fourth in receptions (119), fifth in receiving touchdowns (12) and sixth in receiving yards (1,778). He was also the Atlantic Coast Conference's (ACC) all-time leader in punt return yards (1,296).
One of his most memorable plays was a 53 yard touchdown pass that he THREW in the 2006 Peach Bowl.
He also helped lead the team to the 2007 ACC conference title in his senior season, and has made the program proud during his time in Denver.
12. Josh Morgan
Josh Morgan is the Hokies' all-time number two in receptions with 122, fourth in receiving yards with 1,817, and fourth with 16 touchdowns.
He also holds the school record for reception yards in a bowl game, with 126 against Auburn in the 2005 Sugar Bowl.
He has made the Hokies proud by earning a roster spot on the San Fransisco 49ers, and is a likely future candidate for the school's hall of fame.
11. Justin Harper
Justin Harper, a wide receiver who left the school in 2008, had several notable achievements for the Hokies, including a key touchdown pass during the Virginia Tech win during the 2005 Gator Bowl over Louisville.
He also posted an 84-yard punt return touchdown during a narrow loss to the University of Kansas in the 2008 Orange Bowl.
Harper currently plays reserve wideout for the Baltimore Ravens.
10. Lee Suggs
He also holds the NCAA record for most consecutive games scoring a touchdown (27 consecutive games, from Sept. 2, 2000 through Dec. 31, 2002; 57 touchdowns).
9. DeAngelo Hall
DeAngelo Hall recorded 190 tackles, 20 passes defensed, eight interceptions, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and seven receptions for 86 yards with one touchdown in his three-year career at Virginia Tech.
He returned 56 punts for 839 yards and five touchdowns. Those 839 yards come in third on the Big East Conference career-record chart, while his five punt-return touchdowns rank second in conference history overall.
Hall is one of the few players in college football history to score touchdowns on offense, defense, and special teams during their collegiate career.
He also did Virginia Tech proud by becoming the 8th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft.
8. Don Strock
A Virginia Tech Hokies Hall of Famer, Strock led the nation in passing yards and total offense during his senior year in 1976, though he only finished ninth in the Heisman voting due to the game being dominated by running backs.
He still holds most of the school's passing records to this very day.
7. Bryan Randall
A backup for the start of his Virginia Tech career, Bryan Randall found himself playing behind starter Grant Noel as a freshman. After earning the starting job in his second year, he again found himself splitting the duties in his junior year; this time with highly touted redshirt freshman Marcus Vick.
When Vick ran afoul of the law, Randall earned the full time responsibilities again. As the undisputed starter in his senior season, Randall culminated his college career throwing for 2,264 yards and rushing for 511 yards.
His accomplishment earning the team its first ACC Championship is what earns Randall a spot on this list.
6. Bryan Still
Bryan Still was yet another Hokies wideout. He finished his career at Virginia Tech with 74 catches for 1,458 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Still is most loved by the Virginia Tech faithful for being the MVP of the 1995 Sugar Bowl.
In that game Virginia Tech defeated the Texas Longhorns 28-10, and Still contributed 6 catches for 119 yards and 1 touchdown, while also returning a punt 60 yards for another score.
Still played 3 years in the NFL for the Chargers, Falcons, and Cowboys.
5. Chris Kinzer
Chris Kinzer was a Hokies place kicker, whose most notable achievement was his game-winning field-goal in the 1986 Peach Bowl.
Though Kinzer was not named the MVP, the '86 Peach Bowl was the first ever bowl victory for the Hokies, and his field-goal was kicked as time expired to make the final score 25-24.
He earns a spot here simply based on the adrenaline rush he surely gave to all of the Hokies' fans in that moment.
4. Frank Beamer
Frank Beamer took over a Virginia Tech Hokies program that was mostly unsuccessful in its first century, having reached only six bowl games in total before his arrival.
Beamer has since built the Hokies into a perennially ranked team. In 24 years at the helm of the Hokies, his overall record is 198–95–2 (.675), making him the winningest coach in Virginia Tech history.
His teams have made 18 consecutive bowl appearances, and Beamer has gone 8–10 in those appearances, including 1–4 in BCS championships and 1–1 in the Bowl-Alliance games that came before the BCS era.
During the bowl streak, Beamer has amassed a record of 174–55 (.760).
In a little fun fact to show the adoration heaped upon him by the school, the Hokies' fans have dubbed his game style "BeamerBall", a term adopted due to his emphasis on scoring while on Defense and during special teams plays.
3. Michael Vick
Michael Vick, despite a deserved reputation as a terrible person, is still without question one of the most loved Virginia Tech athletes of all time.
His exciting style of play always had the fans on their feet, and when he was on the field it was never wise to count the Hokies out of the game, no matter what the deficit.
He was also the first ever winner of the Archie Griffin award for the national collegiate MVP, and won an ESPY that same year.
Most importantly, he is one of only two VT players to ever be selected No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft.
2. Corey Moore
Corey Moore is one of the most decorated players in Virginia Tech history. He is a former Lombardi (best defensive lineman) and Bronko Nagurski (nation's best defensive player) award winner, and was the Big East's top defensive player in 1998 and 1999. He is the first ever player from the Big East to win back-to-back defensive accolades.
He set the league record with 17 sacks in a season, and is Virginia Tech's most honored football player ever.
1. Bruce Smith
Known as "The Sack Man" of Virginia Tech Football, Bruce Smith finished his college career in 1984 as the most honored player in Hokie history at the time (until Corey Moore).
Anticipating his future success in pursuing quarterbacks in the NFL, he had a career total of 71 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, for losses totaling 504 yards.
Smith had 46 career sacks, including 22 during a junior season in 1983 that saw him named First-team All-America by the AFCA (Coaches) and Newspaper Enterprise Association.
In 1984, Smith topped off his time in Blacksburg with the Outland Trophy (given to the nation's top lineman) and a consensus place on the All-American team.
This is all without pointing out that he was the only other #1 overall pick to the NFL in school history (other than Vick), became a first ballot hall-of-famer, and holds the NFL's career sack record.
No Hokie has accomplished more than Bruce Smith, and it is unlikely that any ever will be able to live up.
He has brought too much recognition to the program to not be at the top of this list.