September 29, 2015
Edmunds brothers the latest set to team up at Tech
Trey, Terrell and Tremaine Edmunds became the first group of three or more brothers to play in the same game under Frank Beamer in Blacksburg

By Jimmy Robertson

BLACKSBURG – It was late summer of 2014, and both Trey and Terrell Edmunds were participating in summer workouts with Dr. Mike Gentry and his staff, prepping for the pending 2014 campaign.

Nearly every day, though, someone asked one or the other or both about their younger brother. Would Tremaine, a hulking linebacker, eschew the advances of Southern Cal and come to Tech? Would he be the one to be different and go to his father’s alma mater, Maryland, instead of coming to Blacksburg?

On July 31 of last year, the players – and Hokie Nation – found out, as Tremaine announced his decision to sign with Tech during a news broadcast on a local NBC television affiliate. He decided the rural pleasantries of Southwest Virginia suited him better than star-studded Southern California, and he opted to blaze his own path rather than follow in his father’s. More importantly for the Tech football program, he became the latest to continue the “family tradition” for which the program has become noted. He determined that Blacksburg was “home” for him.

His older brothers said they stayed out of his recruiting process, but they certainly like reaping the rewards. Now, 14 months later, Tremaine, too, said he felt like he got the best of all worlds – a great university, a nationally recognized football program, and of course, the opportunity to be a part of both with the people who matter the most to him.

“To be honest, the decision was up to me,” he said. “At the end of the day, I really liked Tech. Every time I came up here, the coaching staff treated me good. The community is great, and this really is a family type of school.

“I am my own person, but at the end of the day, I think all of us [his siblings] are. I don’t think any of us would let someone convince us to do something we didn’t want to do. I think we all went to the place we were satisfied with.”

“I was excited,” said Trey, the oldest. “When Tremaine made his decision … you can’t explain it. Looking back on it and seeing them at practice with me every day and on game days, I love it, man. I love it.”

The Edmunds brothers are just the latest set of brothers to play for head coach Frank Beamer since he took over in 1987. In fact, 25 sets of brothers have played for Beamer, including current players Ronny Vandyke, who played with brother Devin before Devin took a medical hardship, and Kendall Fuller, who played with Kyle during Kendall’s freshman season.

A few days before the Hokies opened their conference slate against Pittsburgh – tickets for that game and the rest of Tech’s home schedule can be purchased here – Beamer took time to reflect on what that says about his program.

“That’s one of the things I’m most proud of is the number of brothers and cousins and so forth that we’ve had here in the program,” Beamer said. “It certainly says that we’re doing the right thing and we’re treating people right. A brother is going to tell a brother if something isn’t right, and that guy, they’re not coming here. I think we’ve gotten about every combination that we’ve gone after, too, which says something.”

Tremaine’s commitment and later his signing of the binding letter-of-intent prompted discussions on when he would get to play in the same game with his two older siblings. Some expected him to take a redshirt year – something not uncommon with young linebackers playing a rather difficult position in coordinator Bud Foster’s defense. But Tech’s staff always planned on playing Tremaine, at the very least on special teams.

Tremaine spent all of his preparation time this past winter and summer doing the things it takes to get on the field as a freshman. That consumed him. Playing with his brothers wasn’t really a part of his mindset at the time.

“After I made my commitment, we had thought about it [playing together] before, but I was just worried about coming to college and doing what I had to do,” he said. “I knew I had a chance to get on the field, but it was just a dream come true to play with them. I give all the thanks to God on that one.”

It didn’t take long for the Edmunds brothers, products of Danville, Virginia, to make history at Tech. In the season opener against Ohio State on Labor Day evening, Beamer assigned all three of them to the kickoff team. In fact, he even lined them up side by side for the entire nation to see.

“They are equipped athletically to do what each position calls for, so I said, ‘What the heck? Let’s line ‘em up side-by-side and let ’em roll,’ Beamer said.

They became the first group of three or more brothers to play in the same game at Tech. Coincidentally, it marked the first time that Trey and Tremaine had played together on the same team – the two never played together in high school.

According to research done by the athletics department’s strategic communications people, the Edmunds brothers became just the third group of three or more brothers to play in the same game in college football history. The Selmon brothers – Lucious, Dewey and Lee Roy – first played in the same game for Oklahoma in 1973, and the University of Central Florida’s Cliff, Jordan and Justin McCray played in the same game for the Golden Knights in a 2010 game against Rice.

The Edmunds’ playing together against the Buckeyes started quite the media firestorm. A screenshot of the three of them made its way through various social media platforms, and an ESPN blogger, among numerous other media members, blogged about it.

“That thing went global,” Trey said. “ It was on all the social networks, and fans around here have seen it. People from back home in Danville have seen. People everywhere are telling us.

“For them to comment on it and tell us how great of an accomplishment that is and telling how we should cherish that moment … that speaks volumes. I give God the thanks that we’re all at this level right here and playing football.”

Their parents, Ferrell and Felecia Edmunds, are thankful, too, as they don’t have to pick and choose which son to watch each Saturday. In other words, their sons’ decisions simplified weekend travel arrangements.

Ferrell, the head football coach at Dan River High School, coaches his team’s games on Friday nights, and then the next morning, he and Felecia catch a plane or hop in the car to go watch their sons. And for six games a fall, that place is Blacksburg, a two-hour drive through the tobacco croplands and up Rockcastle Mountain from Danville.

They take pride in watching their sons play. Of course, their sons get their athletic genes from them. Ferrell once served as Dan Marino’s security blanket in Miami, where he was a two-time Pro Bowler, and he also spent two seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. Felecia ran track at Southern Illinois.

That their boys, though, all decided to come to Tech and play together really comes as no surprise. Family means so much to this family, a byproduct of the way Ferrell and Felecia raised their sons and a continuation of the way in which both of them were raised.

Yes, most football fans know of Ferrell from his days in the NFL, but few know he grew up as the eighth of nine children in Danville, and his father worked a local mill, while his mother worked at a tobacco factory. The family relied on each other to get by, so Ferrell knows nothing else when it comes to family, and Felecia shares her husband’s same view on its importance.

“From day 1, they always told us that family came first, and they didn’t want us to grow apart from that,” Terrell said. “They told us during the recruiting process that whether we went to the same school or not, they wanted us to talk to each other every day and still stay in good contact. They wanted us to remember that we were brothers at the end of the day. They didn’t want us to stray from that.”

“That’s a great family,” Beamer said. “It starts at home with mom and dad. They’re very respectful kids, very mannerly kids. They’re very athletic kids. They’re a delight to have in the program. I’m really glad we’ve got all three of them in the program.”

All three of them are making contributions and figure to make even more in the future. If they do, they would only be continuing a Virginia Tech trend.

Not just players, but also families have served the Hokie well over the years. Brothers tend to follow brothers, and Beamer never takes that for granted.

“We never assume any of them are coming,” Beamer said. “We recruit hard to get them here. About the time you think you’ve got it figured out, something happens. So you better recruit hard and never assume anything.”

Virginia Tech football is definitely a family affair. Beamer said that the first day he took the job in 1987. Twenty-nine years later, he continues to say it.

The Edmunds brothers are only the latest example. They hail from Danville, Virginia, but right now, they all agree – Virginia Tech is home.

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