September 1, 2016
Steven Peoples to wear Beamer's No. 25 for opening game
Galax, Virginia native grew up approximately 12 miles from Beamer's hometown of Hillsville

BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech head football coach Justin Fuente informed the team Thursday that sophomore fullback Steven Peoples has been selected by the coaches to wear No. 25 for Saturday’s game against Liberty.

Fuente indicated on Monday that a special teams player of the week would wear the No. 25 as a tribute to retired head coach Frank Beamer and his legacy of special teams excellence that he spawned for the Hokies.

“Thanks to Coach Beamer, his assistants and many talented student-athletes, Virginia Tech has become synonymous with special teams success,” Fuente said. “When opposing coaches and fans hear the term Hokies, the first thing that pops into the many of their minds is blocked punts and big plays in the kicking game. Coach Beamer revolutioned the college game by putting such a priority on special teams. With his blessing, we’ll honor a player every week and pay homage to the tradition of excellence at Virginia Tech by allowing them to wear Coach Beamer’s No. 25 jersey in that week’s game.”

During the 1990s, no FBS team blocked more kicks (63) than Virginia Tech did under Beamer as the Hokies turned the craft into a virtual art form. During Beamer’s 29 seasons at the helm for the Hokies; Tech blocked 136 kicks (67 punts, 41 FGs and 28 PATs). Remarkably, 20 of those blocked punts were recovered or returned for touchdowns. During the 1998 season alone, the Hokies blocked 12 kicks.

The return game also became another scoring opportunity that Beamer used to its maximum potential. Fittingly, Jon Jefferies registered a 92-yard kickoff return TD in Beamer’s inaugural game vs. Clemson on Sept. 12, 1987 and Greg Stroman galloped for a 67-yard punt TD in his final game as Tech’s head coach in the 2015 Independence Bowl. During that 29-year span, players like Eddie Royal, Macho Harris, DeAngelo Hall, André Davis and many others solidified Tech’s reputation as the home of some of the nation’s most exciting return men.

“I’m so very humbled by this thoughtful gesture by Coach Fuente,” Beamer said. “I grateful that he reached out for my blessing to use the number 25 in this way. I’m really honored that a member of the special teams will get to wear my old number every week. Of course, it’s not just a recognition of me, it’s about all those coaches and kids who made special teams part of our identity at Virginia Tech.

“I couldn’t be more appreciative of the way Coach Fuente and everyone at Tech has handled the coaching transition. I think we have a great head coach who is going to continue to make Virginia Tech even better. I wish Coach Fuente and everyone associated with the football program all the best for a great season.

“My daughter Casey and her husband are getting ready to have their second boy, so I won’t be at Saturday’s game, but don’t worry, I’ll be there at Bristol cheering on the Hokies against Tennessee. You know I wouldn’t miss the Battle at Bristol.”

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