Today is June 11, 2019, which means we are officially 81 days from when the Virginia Tech Hokies open the 2019 college football season at Boston College. Yesterday, we profiled former Hokie receiver, Donald Wayne Snell. Today, we take a look back at someone Hokie fans know quite well, former tight end Mike Burnop.
Burnop, of course, is Virginia Tech’s radio guy for what will be his 37th football season in 2019. He is a network analyst for both football and men’s basketball. Before Burnop began his long career upstairs, he was actually a tight end for the Hokies from 1969-1972. A native of nearby Salem, Burnop played his high school ball at Roanoke Catholic.
Burnop first played for the Hokies in all games in 1970, catching 10 passes for 124 yards. As a junior in 1971, Burnop set a record with 46 receptions and 558 yards for a tight end. He also scored two touchdowns. The 46 receptions were still a single-season record until 2016, when Bucky Hodges, who was technically more of a receiver than a true tight end, finished with 48 receptions. As a senior in 1972, Burnop again played in all 11 games, finishing with 34 catches for 459 yards and three scores.
For his career, Burnop played in every during his final three seasons, catching a total of 90 passes for 1,141 yards and five touchdowns. Burnop catching 46 passes in 1971 in an 11-game season, is quite a feat and speaks to the quality of player he was. Burnop was an athletic tight end who was also an accomplished blocker.
Burnop’s quarterback for those three seasons was former longtime NFL backup, Don Strock. In his senior season, Strock’s backup was current Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach, Bruce Arians. So Burnop got to catch passes from two of the better quarterbacks in school history.
These days, in addition to Burnop’s duties with the Hokies covering football and basketball, he is also a business owner. Burnop owns New River Office Supply, which has multiple locations in Blacksburg and Pearisburg. Burnop was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.
Burnop is a true Hokie legend. A strong playing career, combined with his work as the team’s color analyst for so many years, make Burnop an easy selection at number 81. The Hokies have had some other strong 81s too, as Jarrett Boykin is one of the best receivers in school history and Justin Harper and Bryan Jennings also were good players for the Hokies.