Who Wore It Best? The Virginia Tech Football All-Numbers Team: Part 4 (#30-39)

Part 1 (#1 – 10)
Part 2 (#11 – 19)
Part 3 (#20 – 29)
Part 4 (#30 – 39)
Part 5 (#40 – 49)
Part 6 (#50 – 59)
Part 7 (#60 – 69)
Part 8 (#70 – 79)
Part 9 (#80 – 89)
Part 10 (#90 - 99 + Bonus)

Welcome to Part 4 of our list of the best Hokie Football Players to wear each jersey number.

Today, we'll take a look at jerseys #30 – 39. This week's list includes several record-breaking tailbacks that shined in orange and maroon; one of those tailbacks went on to become Tech's first African-American Quarterback. This list also features two of the best linebackers in Tech history, one of whom is our school's all-time leading tackler.

So here's the list. (Note: The Honorable Mentions are listed in alphabetical order.)

#30 – Dave Smigelsky

Some guys are on this list for their athletic prowess or their award worthy performances. Others are on here because of their amazing hair and moustache combinations. I mean, look at it...that is a thing of beauty. Dave Smigelsky was a punter (seriously, ANOTHER punter?!) at Tech from 1978 – 1980. When Smigelsky finished his career, he was statistically one of the best punters in school history with 7,068 career punting yards. He now sits at fifth place in career punting average with 41.1 yards/punt. That's right, the fifth best punter in school history is on this list; we need more guys to wear the #30 jersey.

(Honorable Mention: Leo Burke, Brian Saunders)

#31 – Curtis Taliaferro

I had a tough time deciding who should fill in the #31 spot on this list. Mel Henry is in the Virginia Tech Hall of Fame, but I know little to nothing about him. Active Hokie Brandon Facyson was a Freshman All-American in 2013 and may very well take over this spot after the 2017 season. But I'm going to go with Curtis Taliaferro to give a little love to the 1986 squad. Curtis Taliaferro was a defensive lineman for the Hokies during the mid-1980s. Taliaferro's best season came in 1986 when he was named Honorable Mention All-American. That was a season of firsts for the Hokies; it was Tech's first victory over Clemson in Death Valley, their first ten-win season and their first ever Bowl victory. The Hokies beat #18 NC State in the 1986 Peach Bowl thanks to Chris Kinzer's game winning field goal as time expired. It would be another seven seasons before the Hokies went bowling again.

(Honorable Mention: Brandon Facyson, Mel Henry)

#32 – Darren Evans

Darren Evans became a fan favorite for the Hokies as a redshirt freshman in 2008. The former EA Sports National Player of the Year took over as the starting tailback after the departure of Branden Ore. He was named first team All-ACC after rushing for 1,265 yards and 11 touchdowns – both were VT records for a freshman. In a game against Maryland that season, Evans broke Mike Imoh's school record for most rushing yards in a single game with 253; that record still stands to this day. But after ten games that season, the Hokies had managed a meager 6-4 record. It seemed that their streak of ten win seasons would come to an end, along with their hopes for a second straight ACC title. But Evans helped the Hokies win their last two regular season games, which miraculously secured them a spot in the ACC Championship game. The Hokies won the ACC Championship, but Evans wasn't through yet. He saved his best performance for last: a 20-7 victory over Cincinnati in the 2009 Orange Bowl which secured another ten-win season. Evans was named the MVP of the game after rushing for 158 yards and a touchdown. He set a school bowl record for carries (28) and tied the school record for rushing yards in a bowl game.

(Honorable Mention: Cedric Humes, Rick Piland, Wayne Ward)

#33 – Ken Edwards

Ken Edwards was a hard-nosed linebacker/fullback for the Hokies in the late 1960s. During the 1968 season, Edwards was moved from linebacker to fullback to give the offense a boost; that was the turning point of the season, as Edwards helped the Hokies to upset victories over West Virginia, Florida State and South Carolina. In the game against FSU, the Hokies traveled to Tallahassee as huge underdogs. But Edwards rushed for a career best 197 yards, including an 88-yard touchdown run that broke the game wide open as the Hokies upset the #18 Seminoles 40-22. Edwards and teammate Terry Smoot rewrote the Tech rushing record books and helped the Hokies to a 7-3 finish and a trip to the Liberty Bowl. In the 1968 Liberty Bowl against Ole Miss, Edwards ran for 119 yards and a touchdown; he became the first Hokie to rush for 100 yards in a bowl game. His son, "Touchdown Tommy" Edwards, was also a running back at Tech. When Tommy scored a touchdown in the 1993 Independence Bowl, they became the first father-son combination in NCAA history to score a touchdown in a bowl game. Ken Edwards was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.

(Honorable Mention: Don Wade)

#34 – Ryan Williams

I don't know if we've ever had a better tailback than Ryan Williams circa 2009. RMFW burst onto the scene as a redshirt freshman in 2009. He quickly established himself as the best running back in the ACC by rushing for a then school record 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns. He broke the 100-yard mark ten times that season and won the ACC Rookie of the Week so many times that I thought they would rename the honor after him. Williams helped the Hokies beat Tennessee in the 2009 Chick-Fil-A Bowl and was honored as the game's MVP. Following the 2009 season, Williams was named first team All-ACC and ACC Freshman of the Year. He was also named a third team All-American by Sporting News. RMFW was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

(Honorable Mention: Kyshoen Jarrett, Victor Jones, Marcus Parker, Sonny Utz)

#35 – Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson was a dominant linebacker for the Hokies in the early 1980s. During his time at Tech, he was largely overshadowed by teammate Bruce Smith. Smith and Johnson formed an incredible defense in 1983 that went 9-2 and only allowed one opponent to score more than 14 points. During his final two seasons in Blacksburg, Johnson averaged nearly 13 tackles per game. He totaled 429 tackles for his career, leading the Hokies in tackling in 1982 and 1983 with 148 and 135 hits, respectively. He was named an Honorable Mention All-American in 1982 and 1983, and was selected in the first round of the 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft. He played in the NFL for more than a decade, earning two trips to the Pro Bowl and one All-Pro selection in 1989. Johnson was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.

(Honorable Mention: John Granby, Willie Pile)

#36 – Carter Wiley

Carter Wiley played safety at Tech from 1984 – 1987. He is often confused with Carter Warley, who kicked for the Hokies during the early 2000s. Wiley was instrumental in the Hokies' 1986 Peach Bowl Championship season. He made the Honorable Mention All-American team an impressive three times (1985 – 1987). I came across one humorous story when Wiley was at Tech. He noticed a pile of recruiting questionnaires that the football office had mailed out. He grabbed a blank questionnaire and filled it out for fun. He wrote in Height: 6'7, Weight: 350, 40-yard dash: 4.4 and Bench Press: 450. Under preferred field of study, Wiley wrote "Engineering. I've always wanted to drive a train." Apparently Coach Dooley was none too pleased with Carter Wiley when he found out that the recruit of a lifetime was fictional.

(Honorable Mention: Aaron Rouse)

#37 – Phil Rogers

This one's a bit of a cheat. Phil Rogers actually wore the #40 jersey for most of his career, but that spot was already claimed. So I found a picture of Rogers wearing #37 and I went with it. But I digress...Phil Rogers was a record-breaking tailback for the Hokies. In 1973, he rushed for a then school record 1,036 yards; that made him the first Tech football player to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season. In 1975, Rogers was moved to quarterback in order to utilize his athletic skills in the triple option offense. In doing so, Rogers became the school's first African-American quarterback. He led the team to an 8-3 record with huge road wins over Auburn and Houston. Rogers finished his career with 528 carries for 2,461 yards, both school records at the time. He was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

(Honorable Mention: Jesse Allen)

#38 – Rick Razzano

"A tackling machine;" that's how anyone who watched the Hokies in the 1970s described linebacker Rick Razzano. I never had the privilege of seeing Razzano play, but his stats are insane. He still holds school records for tackles in a game (30 in 1977), tackles in a season (177 in 1975) and tackles in a career (634). That means that Razzano averaged 158.5 tackles per season! To put that in perspective, here are top tackling seasons for some our best LBs ever: Mike Johnson (148), George Del Ricco (137), Vince Hall (128), Ben Taylor (121). Razzano AVERAGED 158.5 tackles per season; yeah...he was a monster. Razzano led the Hokies in tackles four years in a row; no other player in school history has led the team in tackles for more than two seasons. Razzano owns four of the top seven individual tackling seasons in school history, and he and Scott Hill are the only Hokies to top 160 tackles in a season (but Razzano did it twice). If you want a linebacker that's good for 150+ tackles every year, then Rick Razzano is your man. He was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.

(Honorable Mention: Vinnie Burns, Shyrone Stith)

#39 – Lyndell Gibson

Slim pickings for the #39 jersey. I poured over old Tech media guides, game programs and yearbooks but I couldn't find very many 39s that made an impact on the football program. So I gave the nod to linebacker Lyndell Gibson, who played at Tech from 2009 – 2010. Gibson, along with teammates Jason Worilds, Cody Grimm and Kam Chancellor, helped form the #9 scoring defense in the nation in 2009; that team finished with a record of 10-3, which included a victory over Tennessee in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. The Salem High grad was a solid linebacker who helped the Hokies capture the ACC title in 2010. But his time in Blacksburg was cut short when he transferred to Hampton University following his redshirt sophomore year. Yep, we need some more guys to wear the #39 jersey as well.

(Honorable Mention: Martin Scales)

Here's our list after four weeks:

#1 – Isaiah Ford
#2 – Jimmy Williams
#3 – Bryan Randall
#4 – David Wilson
#5 – Tyrod Taylor
#6 – Jason Worilds
#7 – Michael Vick*
#8 – Vinnie Fuller
#9 – Vince Hall
#10 – Frank Loria**
#11 – Xavier Adibi
#12 – Maurice Deshazo
#13 – Bruce Arians
#14 – Torrian Gray
#15 – Don Strock
#16 – Jim Druckenmiller
#17 – Kam Chancellor
#18 – Brandon Flowers
#19 – Danny Coale
#20 – Jayron Hosley
#21 – Rashad Carmichael
#22 – Lee Suggs
#23 – Nic Schmitt
#24 – Ron Davidson
#25 – Frank Beamer*
#26 – Cody Grimm
#27 – Jarrett Ferguson
#28 – Ken Oxendine
#29 – Frank Peake
#30 – Dave Smigelsky
#31 – Curtis Taliaferro
#32 – Darren Evans
#33 – Ken Edwards
#34 – Ryan Williams
#35 – Mike Johnson
#36 – Carter Wiley
#37 – Phil Rogers
#38 – Rick Razzano
#39 – Lyndell Gibson

*Retired Jersey – the number can still be worn by Tech football players
**Retired Number – the number will never be worn by another Tech football player

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.

Comments

I will never forget when Darren Evans ended the life of the Maryland player who tried to hit high. Cedric Humes is one of my favorite hokies, always good to see him on the list.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

This one's for you!

I see your awesome run and raise you another:

That was my first Thursday night game and that play happened right in front of me...easily the loudest crack of shoulder pads I've ever heard.

Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.

Darren Evans and Ryan Williams on one list. Makes me miss those guys.

Fun history lessons this week, too!

Exactly what I was thinking, lots of guys I never saw play this week.

I played with a bad man who wore number 39, Randy Cockrell. Played LB '87-'89 and was the Rock of a pretty decent defense, unfortunately not great teams.

Scott Hill '92

I was lucky enough to play high school ball with Martin Scales...genuinely good guy from a good family...also one of the hardest hitting sobs I've ever met. Wish he could've gotten to Tech quicker than he did, feel like he could have had a larger impact.

Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.

I got to play church league softball with him after he finished his career at Tech. FUNNIEST guy I've ever met. He would get us all laughing tears at least once a game. Good memories.

"It's a miracle in Blacksburg, TYROD DID IT MIKEY, TYROD DID IT!"