This is an amazing time to be a Hokie fan. While this season hasn't gone the way most of us would have liked or expected, the fact that it is the final lap for Frank Beamer really adds to the overall spectacle and memorability of what we are witnessing. The win against Georgia Tech was huge and now a game against North Carolina, the final home game for our illustrious coach, will be one to remember, especially with the implications for a one-loss team in UNC with playoff hopes, even if they are remote, running through their minds. In all of this, there is something that has been lost and forgotten, the players.
Let me be the first to say that I am as guilty, if not more, of covering Frank Beamer's retirement as anyone. I have written stories, talked about it on my radio show, and even changed my Twitter name more than once to show my support for what he has done for our program. That being said, it's time that we also give our love and appreciation for the players who have helped to continue the legacy of this program over the last 4-5 years.
When thinking of the seniors, most of us think of Maddy and Nicolas, two of the best defensive lineman in the country. They came back to play one more year for Frank and while their performances this season haven't always been to the level that both of them have believed they should be, they are well on their way to making a big splash on the NFL level sooner rather than later and continuing what has been a great legacy of Hokies in the NFL.
While Senior Day will mean a lot to those two guys, in many ways, it will mean more to the other 24, many of whom will not be playing football of any kind once this season is over. Redman, Hansen, Clarke, Vandyke, Knowles, Malleck (who I believe does have a chance to play at the next level). These guys and many more, are saying goodbye to their careers as athletes and will be going out to the "real world" with a degree and experiences that most of us cannot possibly imagine. They have learned to be hard workers, not to flinch in the face of adversity, and they have grown from boys into men who will strive for greatness and continue their service to their communities.
Most of these guys are great young people that we should be proud of. I know that Coach Beamer has earned the attention that he is getting and I believe that most of you all understand how fantastic I believe that is, but let us not miss this opportunity to also show our appreciation for the 26 young men who will be leaving our small town in the mountains and going off to be the men that Frank Beamer has helped to mold them into.
By celebrating these 26, many of whom never played a down for Virginia Tech, but whose contributions are no less important, we are showing that the most important thing that Frank has done for us, is help to give us 1,000's of young men who are better equipped for life than they ever would have been without his influence. I can think of nothing that I am more thankful to him for than that.
So thank you Frank Beamer and the 26 young men who are going off into the world. We are proud of you and cannot wait to show you how much we have enjoyed watching you over these last 4-5 years. You will not be forgotten. Good luck to one and all!