Part Six of "Who Wore It Best? The Virginia Tech Football All-Numbers Team" (#50-59)

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 6 of our list of the best Hokie Football Players to wear each jersey number.

Today, we'll take a look at jerseys #50 – 59. The first five guys on today's list all played in the pre-Coach Beamer era, while the last five all played for Coach Beamer. This week's list includes two Hokies who have their jerseys hanging in the North End Zone. It also features several other All-Americans along with one football player that is still on the active roster.

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

#50 – Ki Luczak

In addition to having an awesome name, Ki Luczak was a standout linebacker for the Hokies from 1949 – 1951. Even though defensive statistics weren't kept back then, sportswriters credited Luczak with making or assisting on 60 to 75 percent of the entire team's tackles during his three seasons. Seriously?! Coach Tom Nugent of arch-rival VMI called Luczak "the greatest college linebacker in the United States." The Roanoke Touchdown Club voted him the Outstanding Football Player in Virginia after the 1951 season, making him the first Hokie to win that award. After his senior year, Luczak was contacted by several professional football teams; but he turned them down due to his commitment to serve in the military. He stayed on the Tech campus for one more year as an assistant coach on the freshman football team before entering the Air Force. Luczak was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.

#51 – Jack Prater

Jack Prater was a center and linebacker for the Hokies during the 1950s. He began his Tech career in 1951 but then left to serve in the US Army for two years. He rejoined the Hokies for the 1954 and 1955 seasons. Prater was a member of Tech's last undefeated team: the 1954 squad that went 8-0-1. But despite their undefeated record, the 1954 team did not receive any bowl invites; they only received t-shirts to commemorate the accomplishment. "That's all we got for being undefeated," Prater said in a 1999 interview. "I've had it in my underwear drawer since they gave it to me." Prater was a first team All-Southern Conference selection as a center in 1955. As a linebacker that year, he picked off a pass and returned it 73 yards in a 24-20 victory at Florida State. Prater became the head of the Hokie Club in 1979. He was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1993.

(Honorable Mention: Kevin Keeffe, Chris Malone, Hilmer Olson, Bruce Taylor)

#52 – Buzz Nutter

Here's a shoo-in for the All-Name Team. Madison "Buzz" Nutter was an offensive lineman and linebacker for the Hokies from 1950 – 1952; he earned All-Southern Conference Honors in 1952. He has the distinction of being the first Hokie to play in the NFL (four other Hokies had been drafted before him, but none of them played in the league). He spent seven seasons with the Baltimore Colts as the starting center for legendary QB Johnny Unitas. He helped the Colts win back to back NFL Championships in 1958 and 1959. Nutter was a key factor in the 1958 NFL title game against the New York Giants, which would later be dubbed "The Greatest Game Ever Played;" as the center, he was responsible for blocking Giants middle linebacker Sam Huff and for snapping the field goal that sent the game into overtime. Here are some highlights of that game; Nutter is the center wearing #50 and fellow Hokie George Preas is the right tackle wearing #60 (you'll have to watch it on youtube).

Nutter was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he spent four seasons and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 1962. Nutter was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.

(Honorable Mention: John Hall, Mark Johnson, Jimmy Martin, Keith Short)

#53 – Kyle Albright

Kyle Albright was a defensive end for the Hokies from 1961 -1963. He earned All-Southern Conference honors as a junior in 1962. Albright was part of the 1963 Southern Conference Championship team, which was the only Southern Conference title in school history. Jerry Claiborne's squad finished that season at 8-2, including a 5-0 record against Southern Conference opponents. But that still wasn't good enough to secure the second bowl bid in school history. Tech would have to wait another three years before they went bowling again.

(Honorable Mention: Dave Farmer)

#54 – Kent Thomas

Kent Thomas was an offensive guard and team captain for the Hokies in 1985. That 1985 squad soundly defeated UVA in Charlottesville by a score of 28-10, despite the fact that the Hokies entered the game as 10-point underdogs. The Bugle yearbook said that the victory was largely due to the efforts of Thomas and the offensive line, which completely dominated the line of scrimmage and allowed tailbacks Maurice Williams and Eddie Hunter to rush for a combined 324 yards. After the season, Thomas was named an Honorable Mention All-American.

(Honorable Mention: Andrew Motuapuaka)

#55 – Darryl Tapp

Darryl Tapp was one of the top defensive linemen in school history. When Tech moved to the ACC in 2004, Tapp quickly established himself as a nightmare for opposing QBs. He was a first team All-ACC performer in both 2004 and 2005. Following the 2005 season, Tapp was named a first team All-American by the AFCA. He also won the 2005 Dudley Award as the top NCAA football player in the state of Virginia. Tapp's been in the NFL for more than a decade and he's still going strong.

Darryl Tapp Sacks BC

(Honorable Mention: Myron Newsome, Ken Whitley, Mike Widger)

#56 – Corey Moore

Those eyes...they'll get after ya. If it wasn't for Bruce Smith, Corey Moore would probably be considered the greatest defensive football player in Tech history. After all, he is the most decorated football player to ever wear a Hokie uniform. He became the first player in Big East history to win back-to-back Big East Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1998 and 1999; he had 31 combined sacks over those two seasons. In the 1999 matchup against Clemson, Moore had a monster game with two QB sacks, a forced fumble and a touchdown. Moore then famously got in the face of the ESPN cameraman and said "Welcome to the Terror Dome, Baby!"

Following his stellar 1999 season, Moore won the Lombardi Award as college football's lineman of the year and the Nagurski Trophy as the college football's top defensive player. He became the second Hokie to be named a Unanimous All-American. His #56 jersey was retired by Tech in 2010.

(Honorable Mention: Antoine Hopkins, Jonathan Lewis, John Maskas)

#57 – Wyatt Teller

And we finally come to someone who's still on the active roster. Wyatt Teller has come a long way at Tech; he went from being a defensive lineman with a fohawk to an offensive lineman with a mullet. Teller came to Tech as a highly touted defensive end, but quickly made the switch to the o-line. There he thrived, serving up more pancakes on Saturdays than IHOP.

Teller has become a local legend in Blacksburg with stories of his mullet (aka the "bun of disgust) along with his consumption of 3,000+ calories worth of Taco Bell Beefy Fritos Burritos in one sitting. He is the current holder of the "Fool's Hammer," a meat tenderizer with the inscription "BEAT UVA" on it; it's basically the o-line equivalent of the lunch pail. He recently helped the Hokies win their third straight bowl game for the first time in school history. Teller figures to be one of the top offensive linemen in the ACC in 2017.

(Honorable Mention: William Boatwright, Anthony Davis, Dwight Vick)

#58 – Cornell Brown

Cornell Brown was one of the most important recruits in school history, and he really helped turn Tech's program around. In 1995, Brown helped Tech to a 10-2 record and a victory over Texas in the Sugar Bowl. That season, he led the Big East in sacks and tied for third nationally in both sacks and tackles for a loss. For his efforts, he was honored as a first team All-American; he was also named the Football News National Defensive Player of the Year and the Big East Defensive Player of the Year. Brown was named a first team All-American again in 1996, despite missing three games that year with injuries. Brown played seven seasons with the Baltimore Ravens and was a member of the Ravens' World Championship Team in Super Bowl XXXV. His #58 jersey was retired by Tech in 2002.

(Honorable Mention: Ryan Shuman, Jack Tyler)

#59 – JC Price

It seems fitting that Cornell Brown and JC Price are next to each other on this list; they were the two dominant forces on the defensive line during the 1995 Sugar Bowl Championship season. JC Price was a fantastic defensive tackle for the Hokies; he was a guy that simply would not quit. He had a knack for playing big in the biggest of games. When the Hokies took on 17th ranked Miami in 1995, Price tied a school record with four sacks! The Hokies beat the Hurricanes 13-7; it was their first victory over Miami in school history, and was the first of ten consecutive wins that season.

In the regular season finale against UVA, Price had a huge fourth quarter sack on QB Mike Groh; that sack coupled with another sack from fellow d-lineman Cornell Brown allowed the Hokies to get the ball back and score the game winning TD. Price may also be credited with making the VT lunch pail famous. After the Hokies destroyed Texas in the 1995 Sugar Bowl, Price proudly held the lunch pail over his head as he walked around the Super Dome turf. This caused many people to ask "What the heck is that thing?" Following the 1995 season, JC Price was named a first team All-Big East performer as well as a third team All-American.

(Honorable Mention: Barry Booker)

Here's our list after six 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
#40 – Ben Taylor
#41 – George Del Ricco
#42 – James Anderson
#43 – Jimmy Richards
#44 – Terry Smoot
#45 – Cyrus Lawrence
#46 – Jamel Smith
#47 – Nekos Brown
#48 – Nick Cullen
#49 – Chris Ellis
#50 – Ki Luczak
#51 – Jack Prater
#52 – Buzz Nutter
#53 – Kyle Albright
#54 – Kent Thomas
#55 – Darryl Tapp
#56 – Corey Moore*
#57 – Wyatt Teller
#58 – Cornell Brown*
#59 – JC Price

*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

My god.... we had a player called Buzz Nutter?!? And I thought we had some great names this season.

More seriously, love these installments eHOKIEt, thanks again for doing this!

Thanks, I'm glad you're enjoying these. I've had a blast looking through the Tech Football History to put this together. It's a lot more fun than doing my actual job.

Yeah man, these are really great. I'm really enjoying them. I somehow missed last weeks, have to dig it up.

"That kid you're talking to right there, I think he played his nuts off! And you can quote me on that shit!" -Bud Foster

(Honorable Mention: ... Bruce Taylor)

My 2020 Season/Covid19 Challenge: only comment with Marvel memes.

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

I'm slightly confused, as I really like Bruce Taylor, and also love Taylor Swift, and I'm not sure the point you're making.

Is it simply a play off Taylor's last name to use a TSwift gif?

Is it you saying you DON'T think he should be an honorable mention?

Is it you saying you think he should have been the one selected?

*thinking face emoji*

Two of those three! I don't think anyone could legitimately say Bruce shouldn't even be mentioned.

My 2020 Season/Covid19 Challenge: only comment with Marvel memes.

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

Yeah I loved him as a player, I wish he hadn't suffered that Lisfranc injury. He was still good after that, but his ceiling was much higher, and it really killed his chances of making it in the NFL.

Bruce Taylor made the Honorable Mention for #51:

(Honorable Mention: Kevin Keeffe, Chris Malone, Hilmer Olson, Bruce Taylor)

So are you saying that he should've been in the top spot instead of Jack Prater?

I'm not saying anything. You really shouldn't try to overanalyze my posts when they involve an image of Taylor Swift rolling her eyes... or, well, any of them really. The two points above (Taylor pun, Bruce being so good that one could debate if he should be the pick) are pretty much the baseline of the joke.

My 2020 Season/Covid19 Challenge: only comment with Marvel memes.

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

I used to work with Darryl Tapp's older brother. Darryl came in one day to give a speech on leadership and he did a great job.

Darryl Bros are good dudes!

Was he the brother that was in the Army or something to that extent?

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Im not sure if that is true, but wasn't Eddie Royal's sister in the Corp at VT when he was there.

Yes, she was. It was long after I graduated, but I believe that she was the Regimental Commander, or highest ranking cadet, during her senior year. I may be mistaken, but I recall reading a CT article about the 2 of them and their many accomplishments.

VTCC '86 Delta Company, Hokie in Peru, Former Naval Aviator, Former FBISA, Forever married to my VT87 girl. Go VT!

He was in the Air Force. They showed him on TV watching from the Middle East during the Sugar Bowl vs. Auburn.

You need to mention under Darryl that he is one of the nicest human beings on the face of planet. He is just a stand up good all around person.

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A friend gave me the Virginia Tech Vault book on the day of the Belk Bowl and I've been reading through it in my home "office." It's cool to know about some of these really good players of their time as this list goes on. It also infuriates me that if it weren't for Burruss CP Miles we could/might have been a blue blood of the sport. Also interesting is how many ties we had to Bear Bryant and Alabama through coaches. Before Murray State was our "coaching feeder program," it was Bear Bryant and Alabama.

Can you elaborate on the Burruss stopping us from becoming a blue blood of the sport?

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Edited and updated with facts and details:
Burruss and then athletic director CP Miles are to blame. They both thought that football detracted from academics and should only be used as a tool to help young men better themselves. They didn't allow scholarships for football that came from alumni donations. Only work study scholarships for work done at the bookstore. They did allow Tech to play in bowl games but because of the funding gap between Tech and other football schools, they never made a bowl until 1947 and even then it was because a Tech alum worked for the El Paso power company and extended an invite to a Tech team that went 3-3-3.

In 1932 Tech was in the Southern Conference which was a super conference with 19 teams. That year 13 schools left the conference to form the SEC with the mindset of shedding the smaller schools in the conference who didn't want to play big time football with money from alumni. Burruss and CP Miles had made it clear he didn't want Virginia Tech in the new SEC.

Fast forward to 1951 when the Southern Conference met and they voted to prohibit all SoCon teams from playing in bowl games as well as limiting practice and banning transfer students from athletics. Tech president Walter Newman was a key player in developing those policies. That year Clemson and Maryland defied the bowl ban and accepted bids anyway. In 1953 Clemson and Maryland spearheaded the formation of the ACC in defiance of the policies and their punishment. But here's the kicker. Frank Howard of Clemson blocked VTs invitation to the ACC just as Newman had tried to block Clemson's bowl bid.

So considering all that, we could have been an original SEC member with many coaches from Bear Bryant's coaching tree, or an original ACC member. So remember when people talk fondly of CP Miles or Walter Newman, think about what athletics at Tech could have been. For me, Burruss did too much for the university as a whole to harbor bitterness, and he only agreed with the athletic director's stated opinion.

God... where would we be right now if that hadn't happened!

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