The Mt. Rushmore of Virginia Tech football

February, 20, 2009
2/20/09
3:21
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Hokies from all over the country weighed in on this one and packed the mailbag. The two names everyone seemed to agree upon? Frank Beamer and Bruce Smith. No argument here. The question -- Michael Vick or not? Even Hokies fans were split:

Reid in Brunswick,GA wrote: HD, I'm a Virginia Tech fan and have been since birth. After thinking very long and hard, I have decided that the VT Mount Rushmore must consist of Frank Beamer, Bruce Smith, Michael Vick, and either Bud Foster or Corey Moore. However, I have also taken the time to create a VT Mt. Rushmore of Shame which consists of Marcus Vick, Brandon Ore, Bryan Stinespring, and Sean Glennon. I hope you enjoy it!

Brett in Yorktown, VA wrote: My MT. Rushmore for Virginia Tech - Bruce Smith, Frank Beamer, Bud Foster, and Antonio Freeman. Despite his recent troubles, Michael Vick can get a (Dis)Honorable Mention - he was incredibe to watch play. Thanks!

Shamus in Cleveland, OH wrote: For the VT Mt. Rushmore, I think it is a fairly easy group to chose from. Frank Beamer, no explanation needed there. Bruce Smith, #1 overall NFL draft pick and I believe the only VT NFL Hall of Famer. Michael Vick, you have to leave the dog-fighting issue out and realize that he brought VT into national prominence with Beamer and he is clearly that greatest VT player of all time. And finally, I think it has to be Bud Foster. Yes, a DC, but defense and Virginia Tech football go hand in hand and he is a major part of it. I thought about Corey Moore as well, but Foster is the easy and obvious choice.

Patrick in Dallas wrote: Bruce Smith - VT, which is all about defense anyway.

Indeed it is.

Here is the final verdict:

Frank Beamer -- Under Beamer, Virginia Tech has won three ACC titles (2004, 2007, 2008), three Coastal Division crowns (2005, 2007, 2008), three Big East conference titles, and made 16 consecutive bowl appearances and a trip to the national championship game. With the 2009 win over Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl, the Hokies finished last season with a 10-4 overall record, winning at least 10 games for the fifth consecutive season -- an accomplishment only Southern Cal and Texas share. Beamer has compiled a record of 177-89-2 in 22 seasons at his alma mater, where he also played.  

Bruce Smith -- He earned the nickname "The Sack Man." Smith finished his career with 46 quarterback sacks and 71 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for losses totaling 504 yards. As a junior in 1983, the All-American defensive tackle made 22 sacks and finished that season with 55 tackles, 31 of which were behind the line of scrimmage. During his senior year, Smith racked up 16 sacks and nine other tackles behind the line. He finished the season with 69 total tackles and won the Outland Trophy as the nation's top lineman.

Bud Foster -- The only assistant coach to make an ACC Mt. Rushmore list, Foster deserves this spot because for the past 22 seasons he has helped mold the Hokies' defense into the national power it is today. Foster, who has been the Hokies' defensive coordinator for the past 13 seasons, won the Broyles Award in 2006 as the nation's top assistant coach and was a finalist for it on three other occasions. For the past five seasons, Foster's defense have been ranked among the top 10 in the nation in total defense, leading the nation in 2005 and 2006.

Michael Vick -- Disclaimer: This is based on what Vick did on the field while he was a Hokie, and that was lead Virginia Tech to its first 11-0 regular season and first appearance in the national championship game. As a redshirt freshman, Vick placed third in the voting for the Heisman Trophy and second in the voting for the AP Player of the Year. He led the nation in passing efficiency (180.37), and set an NCAA record for a freshman in the process. He completed 59.2 percent of his passes for 1,840 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also contributed 585 yards and eight rushing touchdowns.

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