Top 50 Hokie Spotlight: Bruce Smith
In the argument of who the top Hokie of all time is, a name that has to be brought up is legendary football star Bruce Smith. Smith was born June 18th, 1963 in Norfolk, Virginia. He attended Booker T. Washington high school and was an all-state football star. He committed to Virginia Tech and Head Coach Bill Dooley his senior year and played football there from 1981 to 1984.
During the 1983 season he experienced a breakout year in which he recorded 22 sacks and earned first team All-American honors. His senior season he earned the Outland trophy which went to the top interior lineman in the nation. He finished his Hokie career with 71 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, 46 of which were sacks, totalling 504 yards for loss.
Following his senior season at Virginia Tech he was drafted number 1 overall in the 1985 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills. Smith would continue to experience the success he had at college in the NFL ranks.
He developed even more as a pass-rusher and became a dominant defensive-end for the Bills. By 1989 he had already cemented himself in Buffalo Bills history, recording his 52nd career sack and setting the organization's career sack record.
That season his Bills reached the 1990 Super Bowl against the New York Giants. During the game he delivered an elite performance against the talented Giants team. He sacked Quarterback Jeff Hostetler in the endzone during the second quarter to record just the fifth Super Bowl safety ever at the time. In the second half he came up big again, stopping Giants running back Ottis Anderson for a loss of two yards on the Giants fourth down conversion attempt. Though the Bills came up short, Smith’s performance was yet another example of his true dominance at his position.
His Bills team would return to the Super Bowl each of the next 3 seasons, coming up short yet again in all of them.
Despite the shortcomings in the Super Bowl, he continued to rack up truly dominant stats for the Buffalo Bills and eventually the Washington Redskins throughout the course of his career. He would retire with 200 sacks, 46 forced fumbles, 9 All-Pro team nominations, and 2 AP defensive player of the year awards. His career spanned 19 seasons, 13 of them which he recorded 10 or more sacks.
He will be forever known as one of the best defensive players of all time. His 200 sacks still stands as the NFL career record. He also earned the honor of being elected to the Virginia Tech hall of fame, the College Football Hall of Fame, and the NFL Hall of Fame.
Smith is undoubtedly the top defensive player in Virginia Tech history and arguably the best player of all time for the Hokies. Not only do his contributions on the field at Virginia Tech set him apart as a Hokie, but his dominance in the NFL and his continued fame helps put Virginia Tech on the map as a football school and bring positive press to the Hokies. Smith fully deserves to be in the Top 50 Hokies of All-Time list