If you've made it to part four, I don't think this column needs another introduction. Any more words would put extra time between you and TFF's bonkers quarterback pick, and we just need to get there now. For those need a refresher:
1. TFF: Bob Schweickert, QB
HEAR ME OUT. My heart wanted to go with Bryan Randall. My wife as well, who always said "He seems like a nice guy." And yes, French will yell at me for not picking Don Strock, but I'm sorry, the team never won with Strock and he was an interception MACHINE. He threw 27 in one season! That's the seventh worst season EVER. Schweickert was a two-time All-American, led the Hokies to their only SoCon championship in HISTORY, and really laid the foundations for the mobile quarterback that the Hokies tend to base their offense around these days. I'm pretty sure Vick mentioned him as a reason for committing. Schweickert led the team in rushing AND passing in 1963 and almost did it again in 64. Teach that man the zone read and him and KJ are gonna have a field day.
2. Brian: Jaymes Brooks, OG
Let's go push some people around. I want as many guys who blocked for as many successful running backs as I can get, and Brooks opened up holes for Ryan Williams' record breaking season in '09 and David Wilson's record breaking campaign in '11. The backs are pretty good, sure, but it's not a coincidence they have some of the same people blocking for them. Let's slide Matt Lehr over to center (he played it in the NFL), flank him with Brooks and Sergio Render, and go pop some defenders in the face.
(I'm just going to ignore the fact that TFF picked a guy who threw for 1,700 CAREER YARDS to play QB for him. Classic TFF. Like every other Fuller, the man rarely disappoints.)
3. Sam: Darren Evans, RB
I was at the game in 2008 when Evans went for 253 on 32 carries against Maryland. "He was running like a man possessed," said QB Sean Glennon of Evans's performance. Evans was sandwiched in the middle of an era of Tech football that saw some incredible running backs. What stands out about Evans was his power running style mixed with quick feet at the line of scrimmage. He was truly an every down back.
Biggest Hits Collection: Darren Evans flattens Darrell Skinner from Maryland in 2008. "Darrell Skinner just got flattened!" - Chris Fowler pic.twitter.com/ityxc80c65— Treadmill Horse (@treadmillhorse) June 26, 2019
In 2008, Evans ran for 1,265 and 11 TDs, earned second team All-ACC, and was named MVP of the Orange Bowl against Cincinnati. If he didn't get injured in 2009, there's a real chance that Tech would've won 4 consecutive ACC Championships from 2007-10. He'll be a great accomplice to David Wilson in my backfield, and I can run some really awesome two back looks out of the spread. Occupy the linebackers with running back assignments, threaten safeties deep with speedy wideouts, run go routes on the outside to force the defense into running more Cover 2 than normal, attack the middle of the field. Boom. Hawaii offense. #GoBows
4. Pierson: Andrew Miller, OG
Miller was a three-year starter at center and guard for the Hokies, earning All-ACC honors his senior season. Looking back on Andrew Miller's career, it's tough to decide what he's best known for. Maybe it was his penchant for duping teammates — unaware of his prep wrestling accolades under future head Hokie Kevin Dresser — into locker room wrestling matches. Or maybe it was his "Officer Steve" mustache. Or possibly his eagerness to hit guys and physically manhandle them play after play. Regardless, Andrew Miller was a tough dude that any coach would love to have in the trenches. Upon meeting Andrew's father for the first time, former Offensive Coordinator Scot Loeffler told him, "I want to shake your hand. You raised one tough son of a bitch." Jeff Grimes, Miller's o-line coach in 2013, remarked, "He seeks contact, tries to finish every block with a physical demeanor, which is something that a lot of kids don't naturally have. But more than anything with him, it's his mindset and just a certain grittiness about him that loves the physical nature of the game." Sign me up.
1. Pierson: Nic Schmitt, P
Statistically, Schmitt ranks at or near the top of nearly each punting statistic in Virginia Tech history. He was held back from fully unleashing his punting power by another Tech legend, Vinnie Burns, who was entrenched as the starter in Schmitt's early years on campus. That didn't stop Schmitt from filling in as a place kicker his freshman season and booming kickoffs out of the back of the end zone. His 42.6 yard average is second all-time behind current Hokie punter Oscar Bradburn. A Salem grad, Schmitt was known for both his leg and his imposing size. Built like a lineman, Schmitt would absolutely demolish the football with his leg and became a weapon for those Hokies teams thanks to his distance, hang time and ability to drop punts inside the 20. Dude was the total package in a XXXL frame.
My favorite Nic Schmitt memory is from the 2004 spring game — I think it was 2004, but honestly I can't be certain, I'm getting old. The game was incredibly sloppy and the fans had grown quite irritated by the on-field product as we collectively baked in an unseasonably intense spring heat. What made it worse was the poor play coincided with an opportunity to see young Marcus Vick under center. But every time Nic Schmitt boomed a punt, the crowd would give him a HUGE ovation. He was the highlight of the day and honestly the lasting memory of that afternoon.
2. Sam: Woody Baron, DT
I think Baron is one of the more underrated players of the later Charley Wiles's days. He had 9 sacks in his 3 years of playing, but was an incredibly disruptive player, using his smaller stature to his advantage and became a real nuisance for larger guards and centers. Look at the 2016 game against Notre Dame–Baron gave Quentin Nelson, one of the best guards in the NFL last season, a real headache. Baron really made an impact in that second half that took Notre Dame out of their favorite run packages and helped the Hokies in a comeback win.
He's also an author of a children's book and currently plays in the CFL.
3. Brian: Jonathan Lewis, DT
I feel for Jonathan Lewis. You look at his resume and think "okay, 2nd team All-ACC as a senior, honorable mention as a junior, sixth round pick. Not too shabby of a career."
But look closer. Back in the day, All-ACC didn't break down their defensive line into ends and tackles, it was just "DL", so edge rushers with big sack totals took up all of the first team spots, making it all but impossible for a disruptive tackle to get in the mix. But Lewis started for three years and was in the rotation as a freshman, and look at these numbers:
'02: 2 sacks, 7 TFL
'03: 4 sacks, 7 TFL
'04 5 sacks, 11 TFL
'05 4.5 sacks, 7.5 TFL
Consistently disruptive, even as a line plugger to keep guys like Hall and Adibi clean. He's perfect next to J.C. Price, and gives me a pair of interior disruptors to pressure up the middle.
4. TFF: Dwight Vick, OG
I GOT A VICK! The one all you young whippersnappers are least likely to have heard of. Vick played offensive guard in the late nineties alongside previously drafted guys like Todd Washington and Derek Smith, earning All Big East honors his senior year in 1998. That was the year of almosts, when McNabb robbed Tech, Ricky Hall dropped the winner against Temple and LOLUVA mounted a comeback of epic proportions to steal one of their three wins in the last 23 years. This was all WITHOUT Michael Vick, who was redshirting after Dwight helped to lure him to Blacksburg. So imagine how good that team was to literally be three plays away from undefeated. Vick was a big part of that AND landed the man that made everything go plaid the next year.
1. TFF: AJ Hughes, P
I see we're taking punters now. Or, shall we say, 4th down quarterbacks. AJ is only fourth in career punting average, but is the career leader in punting yards, which is likely a testament more to the offensive ineptitude of those years (cough, Wake Forest 0-0), BUT, which other punter rocked a Miami punt returner like AJ did?
2. Brian: Ike Charlton, CB
Few things here. Love getting a third corner with the size and ability of Charlton. Love that he has a similar swagger as my starters. Love that is name is Ike–there's never, in the history of civilization, been someone named Ike who is soft. They just don't make them.
I was going between Charlton and D.J. Parker for my fifth defensive back, but chose Charlton for his combination of big hits and lockdown ability. After leading the team with five INTs in '98, he had just one in '99. Why? Well, mostly because people just didn't throw his way. His lone pick went back for a touchdown against Clemson, he rocked a poor Syracuse receiver to sleep, recovered THREE FUMBLES (!!!) against Miami, and ended up a second round pick. Pretty good final season for another great player who we don't talk about enough.
3. Sam: Sam Rogers, RB
"On the field, he's just a non-stop rolling ball of butcher knives." — Bud Foster on Sam Rogers
There's nothing I can write that will sum up the spirit, tenacity, fire, and impeccable grit of Sam Rogers more than that quote by Bud.
4. Pierson: Jarrett Boykin, WR
Boykin's career coincided with Virginia Tech's transition from a rushing-oriented offense to a more a balanced unit. He began the run on the Tech receiving record books that continues to this day, finishing his career as the Hokies' all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards. He currently sits 3rd all-time in receptions and receiving yards and 4th in receiving touchdowns, which is impressive considering that he played alongside the man just below him on the all-time receiving list (Danny Coale). His physical attributes and large mitts helped him play bigger than his measurables, immediately emerging as an offensive weapon of sorts. His leaping ability and impressive body control allowed him to come down with countless contested balls, complimenting the skillsets of teammates Coale, Dyrell Roberts, Marcus Davis and Corey Fuller. Oh, and he wore XXL gloves.
1. Pierson: Cyrus Lawrence, RB
Okay, I have a backfield of Thunder and Thunder. Not exactly ideal, but when you have an opportunity to add another bruiser alongside Lee Suggs, you take it. A human bowling ball, Lawrence pounded his way to the top of the all-time rushing list at Virginia Tech from 1979-82. Despite playing only 5 games his senior season, Lawrence finished his career with 3,767 yards (a record that still stands) and his 1,403 yards in 1981 are 4th most in school history. Lawrence had big shoes to fill when thrust into the role in 1979, taking over for arguably the best tailback in school history at the time, Roscoe Coles. Lawrence used an incredible combination of size, speed and power to churn out yards despite often being the only true offensive weapon.
2. Sam: Eric Green, CB
One of my favorite players growing up. Green had 4 blocked kicks in his career. He had 8 interceptions with 264 return yards on those picks. He's the picture of BeamerBall. Great speed mixed with the physical nature to be a real punisher in the secondary. I think he's a great option to have in my secondary this late in the draft.
3. Brian: Dadi Nicolas, DE
I'm going to take Dadi in one of my flex spots on defense, and ask him to do what he does best–destroy offensive tackles on passing downs. He may not have been a perfect every down player, but as a situational pass rusher? He was dominant. He can get after the QB the traditional way (remember his 8.5 sack, 18 TFL season in 2014?) or as a hybrid-linebacker-stand up rusher like he did when he bullied Pittsburgh for three sacks in 2013.
Worry less about gap integrity or whatever else those nerdy coaches and their "game plans" say. Let's go make QBs see some ghosts.
4. TFF: Caleb Farley, CB
In a position I really don't need more depth at, considering I already have five guys that played corner at some point in their career, this is a heart pick. Farley came to Tech, immediately started a battle between the offensive and defensive staff over him, and used the spring game to jack expectations of the fanbase beyond all recognition. Then, he got hurt and missed a season, allowing anticipation to grow even MORE, and had a not great first year, thrown into the deep end as he was. Turns out, he just needed a bit of seasoning and this past season turned out to be an absolute lockdown corner.
1. TFF: Corey Fuller, WR
Oh come on, this is my one and only opportunity to get ALL OF THE FULLERS on the same team. Fuller really only had one big year for the Hokies, 2012, filling the hole left by the departing Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale to grab 6 touchdowns and over 800 receiving yards. That was the second of three consecutive years with two Fullers on the team, and yes, this was likely the peak of my life. But hey, if anything should get us excited for Evan Fairs and Khalil Herbert, it's a Fuller proving that Kansas transfers EXCEL in Blacksburg!
2. Brian: Oscar Bradburn, P
Is it a hot take to say that Bradburn is the best punter in program history? He's the school's career leader in average yards per punt, but that doesn't even factor in his ability to hit a clutch ball inside the 10. It seems like when the Hokies need a momentum shift after a stalled drive, Bradburn delivers again and again.
And he's Australian. And he's the owner of a nice 69 yard punt. And he may be the sneaky best quote of Fuente's tenure:
3. Sam: Brandon Pace, K
Third all-time in field goals made and field goal percentage. Kicked for 94.7% in 2006. He was clutch in Tech's big games to begin their stint at an ACC team. I feel pretty confident in trotting out Brandon Pace. For reference, Joey Slye kicked only 72.9% in his career. Shayne Graham only kicked 73.4%.
4. Pierson: Dyrell Roberts, WR
Roberts provides my squad with a nifty weapon, capable of returning kicks and making plays in space. During his career, he: made one of the biggest catches in program history; ranked 4th in the nation in kick return average in 2010 (31.9 ypr); graduated as the all-time leader in kick return yardage and kick return average; and had arguably the grossest injury ever. Some may argue four receivers is excessive, but I'm enamored with the idea of going five wide with Freeman, Phillips, Bucky, Boykin and Dyrell. That's a group that combines size, speed, hops, and good hands (okay, maybe leave Temuchin out of the hands conversation.)
1. Pierson: Greg Stroman, CB
An elite athlete who continues to be dogged by his slight stature, Stroman came to Blacksburg without a defined position and left it as one of the most dangerous returners in program history. Despite being a consistent performer on special teams, Stroman bounced between offense and defense early in his career. He eventually found a home in the secondary, pairing his elite quickness with inherent toughness to become a standout corner. He finished his career with nine interceptions and 26 passes defended, along with an 8.7 yards per punt return average and 4 punt returns for touchdowns.
In many ways, he was his era's version of DeAngelo Hall and Macho Harris. His athletic abilities allowed the coaches to find creative ways to utilize him. That versatility is why I scooped him up here, and illustrates some serious value late in this draft.
2. Sam: Dietrick Bonner, S
I wanted Greg Stroman :/ So this is a spiteful pick. Y'all gonna love this one in the comments section.
3. Brian: Justin Harper, WR
As far as career stats go, 83 catches, 1,338 yards and nine TDs won't catch your eye. But there was more to Harper's career than meets the eye. First off, he played in an era where Tech would rather run Cedric Humes and Brandon Ore until their legs turned to dust than throw it 30 times a game. He came into Blacksburg flanked by two other NFL receivers (Royal and Morgan), and his QB play left something to be desired.
But at 6'3", 216 lbs, Harper had a penchant for the big play. Whether it was housing a punt in the Orange Bowl when Tech was struggling, or hooking up with Tyrod to the tune of 167 yards on just five catches against FSU in '07, the man could create a spark. Another big bodied field stretching receiver to add to alongside Wilford, Ford, and Still? Yes please.
4. TFF: Damien Russell, S
I wanted to go with Jamel Smith, who was a beast at MLB on that '99 powerhouse defense, but that would've been logical, and I've got a reputation to uphold. Don't know who Damien Russell is? Well, he held the record for fastest 40 time at Tech until DeAngelo Hall came along (4.23 seconds), and played for three years at Tech right as they were transitioning from Independent to the Big East. He only grabbed 3 interceptions, but he also exposed his cousin, a guy named Vincent, to Blacksburg, and sold him on the football program, thus enabling the Fuller dynasty that began a decade later. Since he's a Fuller cousin, does that mean I have 4 ½ Fullers now?
1. TFF: Jarrett Ferguson, FB
I almost grabbed Hunter Carpenter here as a nod to the history of the program, but I just couldn't find the explosiveness on film that I was looking for. Since I've basically built an option offense, I need a B-back who is going to go looking for contact and be mad about it. Ferguson was a devastating blocker on top of chipping in over 700 yards rushing and over 400 yards receiving over his career, tacking on 19 touchdowns. All while Options 1, 2, 3 and 4 were Michael Vick, Michael Vick, Michael Vick and Shyrone Stith/Andre Kendrick/Andre Davis/Ricky Hall/Lee Suggs.
2. Brian: Chris Hazley,
Hazley only started one year, but he showed everything I want from my kicker. He missed a kick in the second quarter against Boise State in week one, and then never missed again. He went 21-22 in 2010, led the country in field goal percentage (95.5%) and single handedly won two games on an 11-3 ACC Champion (he hit four field goals in a 19-0 win vs BC, and another four in sneaky-tight 26-10 win over UNC.)
Clutch knows clutch. Now let's go win some football games.
3. Sam: Jack Click, barber
Now both Deep Run Wildcats turned Hokies have been drafted! Go Cats Go! Jack Click is a pure locker room guy. He was in my AP Physics class. Super cool dude. He is also a very talented barber. What's better for team chemistry than everyone having fresh fades? Look good, feel good, play good. Sounds a whole lot better than Hard Smart Tough if you ask me.
4. Pierson: Rick Razzano, LB
I was torn here. My brain said Razzano; My heart said Frank Beamer. But Frank Beamer could never be Mr. Irrelevant. Quite the opposite. In many ways, Rick Razzano is the perfect pick for Mr. Irrelevant. Seriously, how many of you reading this know who Rick Razzano is and what his contributions to Virginia Tech football were during his career? If you were a Razzano advocate, chances are, you're either a multi-generational Hokie or over the age of 60 (shoutout to our friends over at TSL!).
A two-time All-South linebacker, Razzano re-wrote the Tech record books during an incredible four-year career in Blacksburg, racking up four of the top seven spots in the single season tackles list. His 634 tackles are far and away the most in a career, finishing with between 140 and 177 tackles in each season. He is Virginia Tech's all-time leader in unassisted tackles in a single game, season and career. Sure, the game is different now than it was then. But what Razzano was able to accomplish is astounding. If my team needs a stop, I'm plugging Rick into the lineup and eagerly waiting to see him stuff the opposing tailback.
The draft is finally over. Who has the best squad? Will Pierson's offensive line be the deciding factor? Will Sam's adherence to drafting dudes born in the 90s be his downfall? Will TFF's heel turn into a Paul Johnson-esq triple option succeed?
(If you didn't realize it, the answer to all those questions is no. Because my team is the best and since I'm the one posting the column I can make you realize that my back seven is designed to stop Sam's run 'n shoot, run sideline-to-sideline with Vick, and muck it up with–checks notes one final time–Bob Schweickert? None of y'all can win if you can't score. BeamerBall baby let's go.)