Today is July 14, 2019, which means we are officially just 48 days away from the Virginia Tech Hokies opening the college football season at Boston College. Yesterday, we profiled a recent Hokie star in Tremaine Edmunds. For No. 48, we go back to the early 2000s and Brandon Manning.
Manning arrived at Virginia Tech in 2000 from Central Dauphin High School in Harrisburg, Pa. After high school, Manning spent one year at the U.S. Air Force Academy Prep School in Colorado Springs before enrolling at Virginia Tech. He would redshirt in 2000 while learning the all-important whip linebacker position.
Manning turned heads in the spring with his athleticism and performance in the spring game. The 6’0”, 210-pound Manning would bench press 360 pounds while running 4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash and recording a 34 1/2-inch vertical jump. He would pick off a pass and return it 31 yards in the spring game.
As a redshirt freshman in 2001, Manning would play in 11 games, mostly on special teams, recording 12 tackles and blocking a kick. As we know, once a young player makes an impression on special teams, especially in the Beamer era, he was going to end up finding more time on either offense or defense.
That’s exactly what happened in 2002. Manning earned Super Iron Hokie honors in both the spring and the fall. On the field, Manning would start the season’s first two games and would end up starting in 13 of Tech’s 14 games and playing in every game. At whip linebacker, Manning would record 75 tackles, including five for loss and a sack. He would also continue his outstanding work on special teams.
In 2003, Manning would again be the full-time starter at whip linebacker. He started all 12 games and finished fourth on the team with 104 tackles. He once again earned Super Iron Hokie honors.
In 2004, Manning would play in every game for the Hokies during their first year in the ACC. While he was no longer a starter, Manning would continue to make an impact. His numbers went down as he moved to the second team behind James Anderson, but he still made plays when given an opportunity. He didn’t complain or create any issues for the coaches when they chose to move Anderson into the starting lineup.
Manning was the ideal Hokie. A former walk-on, Manning earned a scholarship through his hard work and dedication and quickly made an impact on the football team. He would earn Super Iron Hokie honors every year on campus. Manning is another example of the type of player Beamer and Bud Foster built the program on.
Manning played on some really good Virginia Tech teams and he was a major part of Foster’s defenses during that era.