Today is August 10, 2019, which means we are officially just 21 days from the Virginia Tech Hokies opening the college football season at Boston College. That is just three short weeks. Yesterday, we profiled one of the best running backs in school history in Lee Suggs. Today, for No. 21, we look back at linebacker Brandon Semones.
Semones arrived at Virginia Tech in the summer of 1993. Much like Suggs, Semones is also a local product, having played his high school football at Glenvar in Salem. During his high school career, Semones rushed for over 5,000 yards and was also a three-time state wrestling champion. The nephew of Frank Beamer, Semones always wanted to be a Hokie, following in the footsteps of his father, Dennis, who played for Virginia Tech in the 1960s, and his uncle.
During his first season in 1993, Semones stood out on special teams. He played in every game, made 16 total tackles and blocked one kick. The 1993 team is the one that started the current bowl streak.
In 1994, Semones took over at one of the linebacker spots and never looked back. Despite being just under six feet fall and weighing a little over 200 pounds, Semones was athletic, smart, instinctive and had a nose for the football. He started every game for the Hokies that season, finished second on the team in tackles behind George DelRicco with 99, second on the team in tackles for loss with eight, had two sacks, forced two fumbles and picked off two passes.
Semones continued his outstanding play in 1995. He remained the starter at whip linebacker, starting every game for the Hokies. He finished fifth on the team in tackles with 85, five tackles for loss and had two sacks. Semones also picked off one pass. The 1995 team won the Sugar Bowl over Texas, which, at that time, was considered the biggest win in school history. Semones was a second-team All-Big East selection in 1995.
In 1996, Semones again played in and started every game for the Hokies. He led the Hokies in tackles with 88 and tackles for loss with eight. He also finished with a career-high five sacks and again picked off a pass.
For his career, Semones played in 48 games, making 36 starts. For someone who was considered undersized, he never missed a game. He was a part of 37 Virginia Tech wins, including two 10-win seasons and appeared in four consecutive bowl games. Semones actually provided the blueprint for what Bud Foster looked for in a whip linebacker in his defense.
After his career, Semones became a very successful insurance agent in the New River Valley for State Farm. He owns his own agency in Blacksburg now, not too far from the Virginia Tech campus.