Off season poll: Best Running Back in the Beamer Era

Up for discussion:

1. Vaughn Hebron
2. Dwayne Thomas
3. Ken Oxendine
4. Shyrone Stith
5. Lee Suggs
6. Kevin Jones
7. Brandon Ore
8. Mike Imoh
9. Darren Evans
10. Ryan Williams
11. David Wilson
12. Travon McMillion

With apologies to Cedric Huuuuuuuumes. Because he wasn't a running back. He was a running block...with the ball.

Who was the best? Who was the MVP? Who was the right fit?

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Comments

Ryan Williams is the best I have seen in a hokie uniform

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

Ryan Williams, David Wilson, Kevin Jones, Lee Suggs.... you really couldn't go wrong with any of those.

Virginia Tech would walk right up to you and punch you in the neck. They're just tougher. Cowherd 3:16

damn I miss a strong running game.

The Dude Abides

David Wilson masked a lot of problems and did more than RW with basically the same team

Recruit Prosim

School yard pick 'em between Wilson and Ryan Williams, I take 34 every time. I loved Wilson, but I would not be able to depend on him to get the tough 3 yarder when it's critical.

My tops list:

1. Ryan Williams
2. Lee Suggs
3. Kevin Jones
4. David Wilson

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

I loved Wilson, but I would not be able to depend on him to get the tough 3 yarder when it's critical.

Oh, he'd get you 30 yards in those situations. The problem was that they don't count the yards going side to side . . .

Still, it was fun to watch, even if it could be stressful.

Remembers the run at home against Clemson...YES

Remembers the run in the Sugar Bowl...FUCK

The Dude Abides

Lee Suggs

  • Could churn out consistent yardage to keep drives going or run out the clock
  • Could pop big runs, not just a 3 yard in a cloud of dust back.
  • TD machine inside the 10 yard line
  • Crazy low fumble rate

I agree. Best I have seen.

foresthokie
US Navy Vet

I can tell you from experience, Lee Suggs was one tough cookie to tackle. I played against him as a high school OLB, and he was as slippery, quick and fast as anyone I have ever tried tackling. He gets my vote.

If it ain't orange, it better be maroon...and if it ain't maroon, it better be soon!

Admittedly, I'm an old school Hokie with natural biases, but I've seen all of these guys play. The one that I never second guessed or had a doubt about handing him the ball was Lee Suggs.

All of a sudden, I found myself in love with the world
So there was only one thing that I could do
Was ding a ding, dang my dang a long ling long....

I loved TD-Lee. I still wear his jersey to games. In my book he was the #1....#22.

There is nothing in the world like Thursday night in Blacksburg!

Remember also, that this was back in the day when we were RBU. No passing game to speak of. Even when defenses knew we were coming, they couldn't stop Suggs. That, to me, says it all. I remember having a t-shirt my Freshman year that said "You can run your mouth, but can you run the ball?" Bottom line.

All of a sudden, I found myself in love with the world
So there was only one thing that I could do
Was ding a ding, dang my dang a long ling long....

Yep. Overall, its Suggs. The rest of them were great at various things, but Suggs was the best overall true running back.

Suggs or Jones. Their versatility was hard to beat. Between the tackles, to the outside, short yardage, long yardage. They were amazing.

IMHO Jones missed the window by 2-3 years, I would have love to seen Jones in the mid 'nuaghts teams.

I also think later running back were hurt by having not credible offensive coordination. Ricky Bustle may not have been the best but he put together good enough offenses that when Michael Vick arrived, tech made it to he natty. I have a feeling Bustle's two departures sort of wore on Beamer a bit and he decided his best bet was to promote from within. I think we all know how that turned out. After Bustle our offensive game plans were to hope for scrambling QBs to convert a broken play ala Vick II and Taylor. Strong recruiting helped keep a pipeline of running backs coming in but eventually when we stopped getting great quarterbacks the other shoe dropped and offensive recruiting as a whole slumped. As reviled as Loeffler was (I don't have a problem with the guy) he did breathe a little bit of life back into recruiting but the damage was so severe that it's still being felt today. That's not to say that Fuente isn't getting good recruits but his job was made harder by the slump.

My mild dyslexia and scrolling too fast on a phone screen made me think you were loudly advocating for Mike Imoh being the best Hokie RB of all time. I lol'd.

CARRY ON, MAJER!

"You know when the Hokies say 'We are Virginia Tech' they're going to mean it."- Lee Corso

My #22 jersey that i bought because of him and still wear to this day says that the answer is Suggs. Sorry RMFW and DW.

My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

Not that it is a big deal, but DWayne Thomas is the rb, Duane Brown is the OL. And my vote is for Ryan Williams as most complete. DW was fastest, Suggs best goal line, KJ best size/speed combo (and sick move in the lsu game was unforgettable...against saban!), ore best jump cut and did it with less passing game.

Dwayne Thomas certainly belongs in the list, no question.

YES! nobody ran harder than Dwayne Thomas as soon as they got the ball...but Lee suggs was the best...what a player

A little surprised, but pleased, at the level of love for Lee Suggs. I've always felt he was the best overall RB VT has had, but somehow seemed overlooked by most fans. Maybe it was just my perception, but either way glad to see the love here!

Suggs was my favorite, followed by RMFW. It's crazy to think we had DE, RMFW and DW at the same time for what, 1 year?

A couple years with all 3. Only one year where all were active for a season.

My heart says Ox.

Beamer sideline quote during breakout 60yd run in breakout game (I think vs Syracuse) "I think he's ready. Yep, he's ready."

My funny bone says Wilson (great jokes about him, great stories.)
My schadenfreude says KJ (Because eff you, PSU).
My inner miser says Shyrone (dude never tipped me anytime I delivered a pizza to him, even though I would tell him what a monster he was).
My truck-driving self says Darren Evans.

My brain says Suggs, barely edging out Ryan (the one & only MF) Williams.

Tier 1:
Suggs
Jones
Williams
Wilson
Tier 2:
Stith
Oxendine
Hebron
Ore
Imoh
Evans
Tier 3:
Brown
McMillian

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

Suggs got the Dudley award TWICE. RBs coach Billy Hite said he "hadn't seen ANYONE as talented since Cyrus Lawrence until Lee Suggs." Boom

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Ryan Williams and it's not even that close IMO. Dude was an absolutely unreal football player. Go watch highlights compared to all of the other running backs and you'll see what I see. Was nearly elite at everything except for breakaway speed, which didn't hinder him in the slightest.

I really don't think there is even a question. The only thing holding him back was how prone he was to injury. Magically, he was healthy during the season, but he was hurt every single off season.

And the fumble against UNC. Ugh.

I can forgive, but can't forget.

You're the only ones that I can talk to about this, you guys.

Lee Suggs was just a beast. 30 carries a game. The workhorse stud. That alone wins the competition. He was fast, he had a nose for the end zone and he just wore them out. Williams had a little more overall ability but not the stamina of Suggs.

Wasn't Suggs also a great blocker?

Not Wayne Ward caliber but pretty dependable.

There are freight trans that aren't Wayne Ward caliber!

It's absolutely Suggs.

Ryan Williams was just as talented, and David Wilson was just as athletic (but not as fast IMO). But Williams kind of mailed it in his last year, and Wilson ran backwards 20 yards in an important spot during a huge bowl game.

Suggs had 31 TDs his sophomore season, and followed up with 23 TDs his senior year while splitting time with Kevin Jones. Just imagine how many career touchdowns he would have had if he hadn't missed almost his entire junior season with a torn ACL.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

David Wilson is easily the most athletic RB we have ever had. Suggs was the most guaranteed 3 us RB we have ever had, but definitely not the most athletic.

Athletic doesn't always correlate to on-field results. Although DW had some crazy great plays, he also had some head scratchers at inopportune moments.

I agree with that statement 100%. The OP mentioned that Suggs was more athletic, but I disagree vehemently with that. We did not have a more athletic RB than DW4.

I made a point to say that Wilson was as athletic as Suggs, because both were amazing athletes.

They had different skills of course, but I think Suggs' combination of strength, speed and coordination made him the best RB in VT history.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

Suggs' combination of strength, speed and offensive coordination

This is what you meant, yes?

That certainly didn't hurt. Bustle was the OC in 93 and then again from 95-01. Suggs' last year was 02 and that was Stiney's first year. I'm pretty sure they kind of just kept the playbook and that probably worked for a season or two until adjustments were needed.

There's a log jam at the top of the list and Vaughn Hebron, Dwayne Thomas, and Shyrone Stith aren't in it.

It's Time to go to Work

Stith may not be the top RB in the Beamer era but the dude was an integral part of the team that played for the national title.
237 Att, 1187 Yds, 5.0 Avg, 13 TDs provided a little balance to the Michael Vick Show.

You know who else was an unsung hero of that offense? Andre Kendrick...dude got it done on so many clutch plays...love that guy

Kendrick always seemed like he was the top homerun threat out of the backfield on those option plays. Stith was the the more dependable between the tackles back. But when it came down to that speed option play, you had a choice on defense; get burned by Vick or burned by Kendrick.

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

I can remember a tv thing where they had Kendrick interview Vick. One of his questions was something like "if I was 6'-2", would you be here?" The delivery was absolutely hilarious.

I have to go with Lee Suggs as my 1. In shape and focused Brandon Ore is 1a. 2 and 2a is Wilson and Williams. Suggs and Ore had the better O-lines though.

Hokies fan since 1998

I had such hope for Brandon Ore.

Suggs could get you one yard anytime you needed it and Wilson could hit the home run if the blocking was pretty good, but the guy I'd give the ball to 30 times a game and have no worries was Kevin Jones. I've always thought he was the most complete running back we've ever had.

I think this has already been covered by everyone above but I always thought of RMFW as the best, KJ as #2, then Suggs or DW4 up next. I do have quite the soft spot for Darren Evans - he wasn't the best back we've had but he is one of my favorite Hokies of all time. And man that truck stick was glorious.

As far as the top highlights that come to mind when I think of each;
Darren Evans Truck Stick
RMFW dragging Earl Wolff to the end zone
KJ run against LSU
DW4 kickoff return against GT
I can't think of a specific highlight for Suggs though...

for Suggs, you could go with any of his 57 rushing TDs.

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

Suggs, Jones, RMFW

then everyone else

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

1: RW: home run threat great vision
2: Suggs: consistent TD machine, had he been healthy JR year would probably be #1
3: DW: crazy athlete, had some head scratchers but was fun to watch, and back flips
4: KJ: Was in Suggs shadow until JR year when he had a break out year.

1-0 every week

1. Lee Suggs - Reliable and always found a way into the end zone. (Come on, he was part of the "Untouchables" and a Roanoke native.)
2. Ryan Wiliams - Great balance of vision, speed, and power.
3. Kevin Jones - The other "Untouchable". Best combo of speed and power.
4. David Wilson - Best pure athlete. Won't forget his return during the GT game in the 4th quarter. (But he often ran in the wrong direction)
5. Brandren Ore - If only we had given him the ball more in the Orange Bowl vs. Kansas. (Okay -- let's just forget about that.)

This would be my exact list FWIW.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

Flip Williams and Suggs and I agree 100% and for the same reasons. RMFW had the best vision of any back I have seen in a Hokie uniform. He deserves to be #1 just for the fact that he rewrote the record books running behind a Curt Newsome line. Suggs was a stronger runner, but Williams really had it all

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

Can someone explain to me why Mike Imoh is being mentioned? Granted it was a long time ago, but as I recall he was more of a kick returner then running back

He had the single game rushing record for a while. I think he could have been great if he could have been the robin to a Batman.

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

He was the lighting to the Cedric Humes thunder.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

Lee Suggs. I remember when Vick went out of some games and you knew hes was going to run it. It didn't matter he still got first downs.

Never crimp your blasting caps with your teeth. - Dr Haycocks

Its always 110 Holden...said every mining engineer ever.

I'm don't think we even threw a pass against Central Florida in 2000 and we still scored 44 points.

Edit: I looked it up, Suggs had 5 touchdowns (3 in the first quarter), and we were 2 of 8 passing for 55 yards.

There is nothing in the world like Thursday night in Blacksburg!

It's Lee Suggs without a doubt in my mind

Sean

KJ,RW,DW and LS in that order

Love David Wilson but no way was he better than KJ or RW. Those two, then TD Lee, then DW, then everyone else.

RMFW. There are arguments to made for all our top guys but if I had to pick one to be my starting RB, his balance, vision, and wiggle were insane.

"Now Miami wants to talk about it." *Cue Enter Sandman*

Dustin Pickle

Bud/Wiles 2020

Kenny Lewis Jr. He did start over Ryan Williams and Darren Evans after all.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

Serious vote goes to Lee Suggs or RMFW. Suggs was the definition of consistent but Ryan talent wise was insane.

Bud/Wiles 2020

Ryan Williams. Suggs a close second. It's important to remember Ru had his insane season as a freshman. Had the backfield not been so crowded in 2010 and he stayed healthy, whew boy.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

Ryan Williams was SUPER freaking talented, and it would be hard to say he wasn't the most skilled player Tech has had at RB.

But when you say best overall you have to consider the whole career. Suggs' best season also came in his 2nd year in the program (So. for Suggs vs. r-Fr. for Williams), and they both basically had two full seasons as the starter. But Suggs finished with 58 total touchdowns and 2,767 yards, to 31 TDs and 2,132 yards for Williams. And in my opinion, that's just way too big of a gap to put Williams ahead of Suggs.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

Lee Suggs, all the way, but he has plenty of competition for that top spot.

This is my favorite off-season thread of this year, though, as I forgot how many great running backs played for VT.

It's Suggs. But I will always contend that Kevin Jones was one of the most exciting players to come through the progrummm. The dude's ability to reverse field from anywhere was remarkable. Alas, Suggs was the truth.

"You know when the Hokies say 'We are Virginia Tech' they're going to mean it."- Lee Corso

You know a player is valuable to the team when the cheerleaders holding up the chant signs are pulling for you. Alternating with the standard [LET'S] [GO!] ........ [HO] [KEYS] , you also saw [GET] [WELL] ..........[LEE] [SUGGS] !

This must have been the 2001 season with Keith Burnell and a freshman Kevin Jones filling in. How likely is that to happen today? A team publicly rooting/cheering for a player NOT EVEN IN THE GAME instead of the fill-in or team as a whole?!

Get well!

Lee Suggs!!

Piling on for Suggs. You never regretted putting the ball in his hands. That's the standard I hold all running backs to now.

I do love the streak we had going with Darren Evans, Ryan Williams, and David Wilson though. It was a lot of fun to watch those guys each step up in successive years. Can't speak for the first four on the list since they were before my time.

Hebron was a very serviceable back. Keep feeding him the ball and he'd get yards. By the time he'd carried it 25 times, the defense couldn't stop him anymore. He played a few years in the NFL and did alright for himself.

Thomas was fast and he was money on the outside, but he benefitted a LOT from playing in an option offense with Maurice DeShazo. Easily half of Thomas' career yards were earned my DeShazo before the pitch. Those two were a nightmare for defenses in 93 and 94.

Ox and Stith were both very tough runners who kept churning, seldom going down on the first hit.

Virginia Tech would walk right up to you and punch you in the neck. They're just tougher. Cowherd 3:16

He played a few years in the NFL and did alright for himself.

Yep, Hebron won two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos and he still holds a few Broncos records (mostly for kick returns). Fun Fact: Vaughn Hebron, Carroll Dale and Tom Beasley are the only Hokies with multiple Super Bowl Championship rings.

Mark Leal?

Nah bro it's Drew Harris

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

Andre Kendrick, don't @ me.