BLACKSBURG — Frank Beamer will be inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame this December. One of the best defensive players he’s ever coached hopes to join him soon.
Fearsome Virginia Tech defensive end Corey Moore is on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot for the first time in 2019 after having one of the most decorated careers ever for a Hokie.
Moore, who won both the Bronko Nagurski Award as national defensive player of the year and the Lombardi Award as best lineman in college football during Virginia Tech’s 1999 national championship game season, aims to be just the fifth Hokies player inducted to the hall, joining halfback Hunter Carpenter (1900-05), end Carroll Dale (1956-59), safety Frank Loria (1965-67) and defensive end Bruce Smith (1981-84).
Moore is one of 76 players and six coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision on the ballot. Another 100 players and 32 coaches are included from the divisional ranks. To be eligible, a player must have received first-team All-American recognition by one of the five major selectors during his career and be 10 years removed from his final year playing college football.
Among the 11 players from current ACC schools on this year’s ballot are Miami’s Ray Lewis and Dan Morgan, Florida State’s Terrell Buckley, N.C. State’s Torry Holt, Syracuse’s Marvin Harrison and Pitt’s Craig Heyward. Dennis Erickson, who won two national championships with the Hurricanes, is also on the list.
Other notable first-timers include USC quarterback Carson Palmer and Texas' Vince Young. The full ballot can be found here.
The ballot goes out today to more than 12,000 National Football Foundation members and current Hall of Famers, whose votes are submitted to the NFF’s Honors Court, which will deliberate and select the class. The 2019 class will be announced Jan. 7 of next year in Santa Clara, California, at the site of that night’s College Football Playoff national championship game.
Of the estimated 5.26 million individuals who have played college football in the last 150 years, only 997 have earned induction into the Hall of Fame, less than two one-hundredths of a percent.
Undersized at 6 feet, 225 pounds, Moore, a Brentsville, Tennessee, product who transferred to Virginia Tech from Holmes Community College in Mississippi, more than made up for it with his burst off the edge, finishing his Hokies career with 35 sacks and 58 tackles for a loss.
While quarterback Michael Vick earned much of the national attention during the Hokies’ run to the BCS title game against Florida State in the 1999-2000 season, it was Moore who was the defensive catalyst and, with a stone-cold, no-nonsense stare, set the tone for Bud Foster’s swarming defense.
He welcomed an ESPN audience to “The Terrordome” after being a one-man wrecking crew against Clemson in Lane Stadium during a Thursday night game that September, when he had four tackles for a loss, five quarterback hurries and two sacks, the last a strip that led to a fumble he returned for a touchdown in the Hokies’ 31-11 victory.
Moore, who famously bristled with the media in a pre-Sugar Bowl interview session, was a unanimous first-team All-American selection that season, only the second in Hokies history, joining offensive lineman Jim Pyne. He had 17 sacks and another 28 tackles for a loss that year, winning the Dudley Award as the top player in Virginia while being named Big East Defensive Player of the Year and Football News’ Defensive Player of the Year.
The Hokies retired Moore's jersey in 2010 when he was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame.
A third-round pick by the Buffalo Bills in 2000, Moore had a far less distinguished NFL career as a tweener who never quite fit in a pro-style defense. He played nine games for the Bills in 2000, registering one sack, and one game for the Dolphins in 2001 before his career was over.
Seven players and coaches with Virginia Tech ties have been selected for the Hall of Fame. In addition to the four players in the hall, coaches include Andy Gustafson, Jerry Claiborne and Beamer.
When Beamer is inducted in December, he’ll be the first Hokie to go in since Smith in 2006. Before that, Loria and Claiborne were inducted in 1999.