Who Wore It Best? The Virginia Tech Football All-Numbers Team: Part 1 (#1-10)

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)

A few months ago, my brother and I were driving home from a Tech road game. We decided to pass the time by naming a Tech football player for every jersey number from 1-99 (ie 1 = Victor "Macho" Harris, 2 = Roscoe Coles, etc.). We quickly realized two things: 1. That's a lot more difficult than it sounds and 2. We were not always selecting the best players for each jersey number. There was a lot of "Really? That's the best you can think of?" going on.

So I decided to create the definitive list of the best Hokie Football Players to wear each jersey number. Sports Illustrated recently put together a similar list for athletes across every sport, which naturally led to some controversial picks. The list of Tech football players isn't nearly as controversial, but there were some extremely tough decisions. In many cases, my head said one thing and my heart said another (for example, who should get the nod for #45? Sam Rogers or Cyrus Lawrence?).

I was a student at Tech during the 2000's, so many of my picks tend to be guys that played during the Big East and ACC eras. That is not meant to be a knock against some of the old timers who wore orange and maroon; when in doubt, I usually picked the guys that I'd seen play in person.
So here is the list. Feel free to disagree. (Note: The Honorable Mentions are listed in alphabetical order.)

#1 – Isaiah Ford

Starting off with a bang! Up until the 2015 season, Victor "Macho" Harris had this spot all locked up. After all, he was the heart and soul of the 2008 defense, which led to him being named first team All-American by Sporting News. Whenever we needed a big play on defense that year, Macho came through and led us to an ACC Title and an Orange Bowl Championship. But then Isaiah Ford showed up and starting breaking records. Ford may go down as the greatest wide receiver in school history. He sits atop the career list in receptions, receiving touchdowns and receiving yards. He is also the first and only Tech receiver to have 1,000 receiving yards in a single season...and he did it twice. When you break that many records, you've earned a spot on this list.

(Honorable Mention: Keion Carpenter, Antone Exum, Eric Green, Victor "Macho" Harris)

#2 – Jimmy Williams

We've had some great members of DBU over the years, from DeAngelo Hall to Brandon Flowers; from Kam Chancellor to Kyle Fuller and so on. But one guy that never gets much love is Jimmy Williams. The crazy thing is, he may have the best college pedigree of any of our DBs. The guy was a UNANIMOUS All-American in 2005. To put that in perspective, Tech has only had four Unanimous All-Americans in its history: Jim Pyne, Corey Moore, Jake Grove and Jimmy Williams; the other three guys on that list have their jerseys hanging in the North End Zone. Jimmy may never have his jersey retired, but he's at least earned a spot on this list.

(Honorable Mention: Roscoe Coles, Will Furrer, Josh Morgan, Ronyell Whitaker, Maurice Williams)

#3 – Bryan Randall

Bryan Randall was a strong-willed, tough QB who led Virginia Tech to an ACC Championship in its first year in the league (2004). The Hokies were picked to finish 7th out of 11 teams that year, but Randall silenced all of the critics on his way to being named the 2004 ACC Player of the Year; he also won the 2004 Dudley Award as the top NCAA football player in the state of Virginia. He finished his collegiate career with school records in both passing yards (6,508) and total offense (8,034). He even held a Big East Record for passing yards in a single game (504). The best thing about B-Ran was that he gave you everything he had every time he stepped on the field.

(Honorable Mention: Ike Charlton, Logan Thomas)

#4 – David Wilson

Now this is where things get REALLY difficult. Some of the greatest Hokies of all time have worn the #4 jersey. The #4 jersey is to VT what the #44 jersey is to Syracuse. So who do you pick here? You've got Eddie Royal, Chris Kinzer, DeAngelo Hall and David Wilson. Eddie Royal was a speedy WR that threatened to take it to the house on every kick/punt return. Chris Kinzer was responsible for "The Kick" in the 1986 Peach Bowl, which earned Tech its first ever bowl victory. All-American DeAngelo Hall remains one of the greatest members of DBU who went on to a great career in the NFL; he once famously said "Give it to me Roscoe! Give it to me!" And then there's David Wilson: the rabbit-catching, Cassell Coliseum-climbing tailback who reportedly eats Chick Fil-A on Sundays. This is probably the toughest pick of the day, but I'm going to go with David Wilson who holds the record for most rushing yards in a single season (1,709 yards in 2011). Not only was he an All-American, but he also won the 2011 ACC Player of the Year and that's got to count for something.

(Honorable Mention: Jerod Evans, DeAngelo Hall, Chris Kinzer, Eddie Royal)

#5 – Tyrod Taylor

The one thing you can't deny about Tyrod is that he was a winner. In his four years at Tech, he won three ACC Titles (2007, 2008 & 2010). He also brought home a Chick Fil-A Bowl Championship and an Orange Bowl Championship (VT's first and only BCS Bowl victory). He was twice named MVP of the ACC Championship Game (2008 and 2010) and was honored as the ACC Player of the Year in 2010. For those of you keeping track at home, this makes three straight ACC Players of the Year on this list. Some of Tyrod's records have been broken by his successors, but he remains one of the most beloved Hokies of all time.

(Honorable Mention: Kevin McCadam, Cam Phillips, Marcus Vick)

#6 – Jason Worilds

Jason Worilds (or "The Artist Formerly Known as Jason Adjepong") was a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line. He was a two-time All-ACC selection in 2008 & 2009, despite the fact that he always seemed to be playing hurt. He helped lead a scary defense in 2009, which included Cody Grimm and Kam Chancellor. That season, he had an impressive 32 Quarterback Hits. I'm still a little upset that Worilds chose to forgo his senior year and enter the NFL Draft, because the 2010 defense could have certainly used a skilled pass rusher like him. But I completely understand him wanting to pursue his NFL dream. He actually had a pretty solid career with the Pittsburgh Steelers before choosing to retire after five years in the league.

(Honorable Mention: Roger Brown, Vegas Robinson)


#7 – Michael Vick

If Frank Beamer put Virginia Tech on the map, then Michael Vick circled it. He dazzled crowds with the "Michael Vick Experience" and made Virginia Tech really cool. Vick compiled a record of 20-1 as the starting QB at Virginia Tech; his only loss came against FSU in the National Championship, a game that he almost single-handedly won. After leaving Tech, the Atlanta Falcons selected Vick with the #1 pick in the 2001 NFL Draft; he and Bruce Smith are the only Hokies to be selected #1 overall. Here's the bottom line: if I were tasked with building an All-Time Tech Team that had to win one game, you bet your ass I'd have MV7 lining up under center.

(Honorable Mention: Sean Glennon, Bucky Hodges)

#8 – Vinnie Fuller

Ah yes, the Fuller that started it all. In all honestly, I had to put Vinnie Fuller in this spot because his three young brothers were unceremoniously cut from this list (SPOILER ALERT!!!). Vinnie may not have received the accolades that his younger brothers did, but he was still one heckuva football player. His most famous play came against #6 West Virginia in 2004. Following a Jim Davis field goal block, Fuller scooped up the loose ball and raced 74 yards for a touchdown. That TD proved to be the difference in a 19-13 upset of the Mountaineers that turned Tech's season around.

After leaving Tech, Fuller had a very productive career in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans. But more importantly, he convinced his three younger brothers that orange and maroon were their natural colors.

(Honorable Mention: Greg Boone)

#9 – Vince Hall

One of my favorite Hokies of all-time; seriously, I love this guy. Vince Hall was the middle linebacker at Tech from 2004 – 2007; he was the field general for four of our greatest defenses of all time. Here are the national rankings for total defense during Hall's time in Blacksburg – 2004: #4, 2005: #1, 2006: #1, 2007: #4. Those defenses were insanely good! Now, Vince had some help on those teams. Most notably, he teamed up with fellow linebacker Xavier Adibi to form the 9-11 defense (as in, "you gotta problem, call 9-11"). Hall was the leading tackler for the Hokies in both 2005 and 2006 while Adibi led the team in tackles in 2007. Vince Hall was one of the best linebackers to ever play for Bud Foster, and he won the 2006 Dudley Award as the top NCAA football player in the state of Virginia.

(Honorable Mention: Antonio Banks, Anthony Midget)

#10 – Frank Loria

When compiling a list of the greatest football players to wear each jersey number, your best bet is to take a look at the university's retired numbers. The nine jerseys/numbers consist of some of the best Hokies to ever play the game, and that holds true for Tech's first Consensus All-American, Frank Loria. Loria started every game at safety for Tech from 1965-1967. He still holds the Tech record for punt return TDs in a season (3) and career (4). After college, he became the offensive coordinator at Marshall University. He died in the 1970 airplane crash that claimed the lives of almost the entire Marshall football team and coaching staff. Loria was the Granddaddy of DBU and remains one of the all-time great Hokies.

(Honorable Mention: Johnny Dean, Jim Lugar, Bob Schweickert, Lenny Smith)

Well that's the list so far! I had a blast reading through every bit of Hokie History that I could get my hands on. Who do you think were the biggest snubs on this list?

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

Comments

uhhh...??

jeeze, long read. I'm gonna need some time.

son of a bitch kennyhokie strikes again

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

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

You put those words together, those are my favorite words, Popeyes and bahama
- Mike Burnup

Easy Calls:

#7 - Michael Vick

#5 - Tyrod Taylor

#34 - Ryan "MF" Williams

#18 - Brandon Flowers

Tough Calls:

#4 - David Wilson/Jerod Evans I lean DW in this case.

#11 - Xavier Adibi/Kendall Fuller I lean Adibi but this is even closer

#17 - Kam Chancellor/Kyle Fuller I lean Fuller, he was probably better in college.

Skipping over the easiest call.

25. Beamer

So you're telling me you think Michael Vick deserves #7 over Marcus Davis?!?! /s

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

Could throw Eddie Royal in for #4 as well. Didn't have crazy numbers like DW and Jerod, but every time he touched the ball you knew something good was going to happen. I don't think we've ever done reverses on returns as consistently as when he was playing.

I'm having trouble remembering the guys who wore #1 outside of Macho.

stick it in, stick it in, stick it in!

Yes, Eddie Royal was great, but he's competing against a QB who holds most of our single season records and perhaps most importantly, helped us turn things around, AND against our single season leading rusher and ACCPOY.

Eric Green, Antone Exum were both #1.

Eric Green
Antone Exum
Also, a recent receiver whose last name always escorts in car puns

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.

I think #27 will be a pretty easy call:

Great News /s

"Some people think football is a matter of life and death....... I assure you, it's MUCH more serious than that" ...Bill Shankly

I mean, I guess the OP was pretty clear that it's a work in progress.

Sorry, I clicked "save" before I was done. I didn't realize that it would post. The actual write-up is coming soon.

maybe give a description of what's to come before it gets taken down.

And if you were repaving a road, you'd just leave a few thousand orange barrels up for a few dozen years.

Doctor: Hello, did you come to see me with an eye problem?

Patient: Wow, yes, how can you tell?

Doctor: Because you came in through the window instead of the door.

You put those words together, those are my favorite words, Popeyes and bahama
- Mike Burnup

No news is good news?

ESPN. The coverage is excellent, you'd be surprised at how much you can pick up.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

"work in progress" ?

POTY

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

Big, if true.

Best post since My )

Edit: Now I understand why this post was originally called Work In Progress. Wow.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

The one where the OP accidentally cut off the rest of the story about Hotel Roanoke after building up such suspense was pretty good, too.

"What are you going to do, stab me? - Quote from Man Stabbed

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)

UPDATE: Ice Cream is the only desert item I will touch. I don't have much of a sweet tooth.
I can't take anywhere like Chipotle, Moes or whatever seriously after going to San Diego and having some of the best burritos/tacos I have ever had. (Unless I am drunk and get taco bell)
I will forego eating fried chicken anywhere just to wait and enjoy the best there ever was which is prepared by my Grandma.

ESPN. The coverage is excellent, you'd be surprised at how much you can pick up.

Damn. He fixed it.

ESPN. The coverage is excellent, you'd be surprised at how much you can pick up.

Man this post went from 0 to 60 99 real fast.

Cool post though!

(For those joining late, there was literally nothing in this thread the first time I saw it)

First off, amazing level of content in this post. It's going to take a while to get through this.

That said, to the OP - would you consider splitting this up into different threads to be released over time? I think it would be a whole lot easier to digest e.g. 10 numbers at a time, maybe once a week, over the offseason. I think that would be TKP Hall of Fame level awesome. Something to think about. The thread could get really hard to navigate and really convoluted if we're trying to talk about 99 numbers at once.

Phenomenal level of thought and effort. Kudos for that.

Good call. I changed it to "Part 1" which only shows jerseys #1 - 10. Thanks for the advice!

I was hoping someone would post this. I agree completely this would have been awesome to fill the void of the off season. But all the legs for the research. As someone with zero knowledge of pre-2002 Hokies teams (other than a few highlights like Vick) I'm going to enjoy learning some of the history prior to my time as a fan. Thanks again for the effort!

Don't care if Jones was a better player than Beamer. It has to be Beamer.

Also give me Kyle Fuller over Kam all day.

Great work on this!

Wow. This is amazing. You the real MVP.

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

Ya'll might downvote but I'm about to speak that dam truth! Brandon Flowers is the best corner to ever play at Virginia Tech so don't try and tell me different !

No one will downvote you because he is.

Tweedy can run like a dadgum antelope or whatever. I like to use scalded dog. Do antelopes lumber? Cheetah, OK. He runs like a cheetah. He's fast. - Bud Foster

The first sentence is a joke about (former, has the potential to return in a month I think) member Arnie something, who posted an ill-advised comment that started with that sentence and caught the ban hammer as a result of it and I believe he defended it a few times.

Damn. Forgot all about that. I am ashamed. Being scolded even as I type.

Tweedy can run like a dadgum antelope or whatever. I like to use scalded dog. Do antelopes lumber? Cheetah, OK. He runs like a cheetah. He's fast. - Bud Foster

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

I'm like halfway through your list. GREAT write up man. This must've taken a lot of time.

Thanks man, I appreciate it. Based on some of the feedback I received, I decided to split it up to only show a few numbers at a time. Hopefully you finished reading it before I made the update!

I don't agree with listing Marcus Vick as an honorable mention.

I mean I guess he was a talented player, but he got kicked off the team for a reason. Any player who missed an entire season for disciplinary reasons, pissed off basically everyone after he returned, and eventually got kicked off the team is not one of our best players. I don't like associating Marcus Vick with anything good about tech.

Yeah, I totally understand that lots of people don't like to give Marcus any kind of acknowledgement or credit, but he was the QB for one of the most talented teams in VT history. That 2005 team could have been significantly more special than it was if not for the debacles against the Florida teams.

Wow. Holy historian, Batman!

Nice job. Will give me something to do other than stare down the recruiting predictions.

other than stare down the recruiting predictions.

oh, you mean like me refreshing TKP every two minutes?

Ford may go down as the greatest wide receiver in school history.

Respectfully disagree! Fuente be all like...

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)

Counter to this will be a bevy of receivers putting up solid numbers, and not a workhorse setting all-time tech records.

The Dude Abides

That 2007 Secondary was ridiculous.

Kam Chancellor
DJ Parker
Brandon Flowers
Macho Harris
Rashad Carmichael

Was Cody Grimm at whip? I dont remember. Am I missing anybody?

Roc and Stephan Virgil as backups is pretty amazing depth. Also, it was Cam Martin at whip that year, who was much better in coverage than Cody Grimm, who played against Kansas and gave up multiple third down conversions in coverage.

I think we could use another superstar at #9, usually the single digit numbers get snagged up quickly by big time players, but we haven't had many elite players don the 9, especially after Vince Hall. Maybe Ladler, if he holds that number throughout, could be the next one. I look forward to him establishing himself into the corner rotation (perhaps next year).

ugh, JoePa accusing anyone of improper benefits is like the child-molester-enabling pot calling the kettle black.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

btw, for the OP, to save a work in progress, I usually just do a preview to make sure it looks the way I want then I copy the code to a .txt file and save that on my desktop. That way I can pick back up later and don't have to post my unfinished work for all to see...

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Thanks for the advice. This was my first post and I didn't know that "Save" meant "Post". I know that now, lol

Great list. And I'm having a hard time coming up with extra Honorable Mentions.

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.

This is terrific!
I've only made it through the first 50 so far, but one thing I noticed was DJ Parker missing from your Honorable Mentions list for number 25.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Good catch! I have no idea how I missed DJ Parker. I'll make sure to add him whenever I publish #20-29. I decided to only post ten at a time due to size.

Yeah I really wish I hadn't commented half way through reading them..I was enjoying it. But alas, I'll wait for them to come out. I think VTGM has a point and I think doing a 10 week off-season series where you release 10 a week is a great idea.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Great research piece!

And Buzz Williams isn't the first Buzz at Tech....who knew? Lots of first and second team All-Name Team members on here, but Buzz Nutter has to be Most Valuable Name for every year he played, though.

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

The more I read about Buzz Nutter, the more I love the guy! He's quickly becoming one of my favorite Hokies.

KJ could also be listed under Honorable Mention for #7. While he wore #25 in his only season as the sole feature back, his two years wearing #7 as half of The Untouchables were pretty special too.

What about Kevin Jones? No honorable mention for #7? Or is he under #25?

He's listed under #25. I found a lot of guys that switched numbers during their Tech careers, so I limited it to one jersey number for each player. When there were multiple numbers to choose from, I usually looked at the football player's best year(s) and selected that number. So for KJ, his best year was 2003 when he wore #25.

Fun Fact: Did you know that Michael Vick wore #18 during his redshirt season?

Apparently the list was posted in full at first, from 1-99, but it was decided that the OP should split it up and make it a weekly column over ten weeks.

Judging from some of the comments above, he may have even been listed as the greatest to wear #25, which is a semi-controversial opinion, but that may not be the case as it was cut out and should be posted in about 2 weeks.

DeAngelo Hall should have the spot for number 4 come on man! There is no way David Wilson gets the nod here.

There are wolves and there are sheep, I am the sheep dog

That was, by far, the toughest choice for me. When I first did my write-up, D-Hall was in the #4 spot. But then I remembered that David Wilson won the 2011 ACC Player of the Year and he holds the record for most rushing yards in a season. And his kick return TD against GT in 2010 was amazing! Not to mention his kick return TD to open up the second half against NC State in 2010. It was just too much to ignore.

I think you picked #4 correctly, though it is a tough one.

I love me some DeAngelo Hall, and I love me some David Wilson, but Eddie Royal has to be #4. I judge based on the number of memories of the player I can instantly recall. Dude was a legend. Caught the ACC winning touchdown against Miami our first year in the league, sparked the comeback against GT with that ridiculous catch and cross-field run and was all around amazing to watch.

For DHall, I just remember the Roscoe strip and spending several off seasons debating the veracity of his 40 time. DWilson I remember the GT KO return and (sadly) his back and forth run against Michigan that cost us like 20 yards.

Also, honorable mention should go to Andre Kendrick for #4. Dude rocked it in the Sugar Bowl against the Noles.

Wow. Excellent write up, thank you! My head is full from all of this learning and I don't think I can work any more today.

#MakeVTFootballFunAgain

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

I believe Vick lost 2 games a starter, although one of those game he got hurt on the first drive and then VT lost the game, Miami maybe?

The Dude Abides

Yep, his only losses as a starter were the National Title game and against Miami in 2000 where he was pulled after the first two series or so.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

Technically, he only has one loss as a starter because Dave Meyer took the first offensive snap at QB.

It's a technicality that benefits Vick, but hurts Tyrod's record.

Tyrod is officially 33(4?)-8. But he really should have one more win and one less loss. He played almost the entire 2007 FSU game but didn't start and won the game. He played one snap of the 2008 FSU game and gets credit for the loss as a starter.

Thanks for the clarification, I should've researched this harder. My memory from watching at 7 remembered Vick playing in the 1st quarter and then leaving because his ankle was still too injured from the Pitt game. I just assumed he started.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

He did attempt to play early on, so your memory did not fail you. I didn't even watch that game, my 7/8 year old interests were rooted elsewhere.

Are 0 and 00 illegal numbers now?

Even when you get skunked; fishing never lets you down. 🎣

I'd love to see a Hokie rock the double-zeroes like Jim Otto.

Thats why I ask. My number was 0 in LL. We had a play off game before and during a Bills / Raiders game. After it was over we were going through the gate to our box seats and he was standing there. He looked down at me and said "Good game...boy". I pissed in my cup.

Even when you get skunked; fishing never lets you down. 🎣

Yes, NCAA rules specify that all jerseys be numbered 1-99.

#1...Macho Harris!

via GIPHY

"Take care of the little things and the big things will come."