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Virginia Tech football: 52 days til kickoff with a look back at Keith Short

Short was a two-year starter for the Hokies during the late 90s.

Georgia Tech v Virginia Tech Photo by Lance King/Replay Photos via Getty Images

Today is July 10, 2019, which means we are officially just 52 days away from the Virginia Tech Hokies opening the college football season at Boston College. Yesterday, for day No. 53, we were unable to get a profile up but we are back at it today.

For No. 52, we look back at former starting center, Keith Short.

Short arrived in Blacksburg in 1995 out of Patrick Henry High in Ashland, Va. He was a three-star recruit who was recruited as a tight end and defensive end. He would help lead his high school to an undefeated season and Group AAA Division 5 state title in 1994. After redshirting his first season in Blacksburg, Short would eventually move to the offensive line.

During both his redshirt freshman and sophomore seasons, Short would provide depth to Virginia Tech’s offensive line while gaining valuable experience. In 1998, Short’s junior season, he would take over as the starting center. The Hokies finished 9-3 that season and it culminated with a 38-7 blowout win over Alabama in the Music City Bowl. Al Clark was the quarterback of that team while Lamont Pegues, Shyrone Stith and Jarrett Ferguson would help carry Tech’s running game.

In 1999, Short was again the starting center. With a freshman quarterback under center, Short was an integral part of that 1999 team. You may have heard of that freshman passer, Michael Vick. He ended up being pretty good.

As a team, the Hokies were an amazing bunch in 1999. We’ve covered how strong that defense was in 1999. With players like Moore, Engelberger, Taylor, Pugh, Beasley, Charlton, Pile and a host of others, it was a special unit. However, the offense was elite, too. Vick, of course, was a major reason why, but he didn’t do it alone.

Offensively, the Hokies had an outstanding running game led by Vick, Stith, Andre Kendrick and Ferguson, while Andre Davis, Ricky Hall and Emmett Johnson were catching passes. But the most underrated unit of the 1999 team that reached the national championship was the offensive line. The Hokies had Anthony Lambo, Matt Lehr, Short and Dave Kadela up front. It was an outstanding group that often doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

After his playing career ended, Short would return to Blacksburg and earn a Master’s. He would then go to the University of South Florida where he worked as a strength and conditioning coach. In 2006, he returned to Blacksburg to work for the Hokies as an assistant strength and conditioning coach.

Short had a good career for the Hokies. Like most offensive linemen, he did it in relative anonymity.