Before Michael Vick became one of the most electrifying players in the NFL, he nearly carried the Virginia Tech Hokies to a National Championship with one of the greatest individual performances in college football history.
Vick passed for 225 yards and rushed for another 97 in the 2000 Sugar Bowl as Virginia Tech led 29-28 through three quarters before falling to Florida State. Video Player : Va. Tech Head Coach Frank Beamer On Vick
That performance helped put Virginia Tech football on the map as a national power. The paths of Vick's former head coach and star pupil crossed again on Friday night at the Maxwell Club Awards in Atlantic City. Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer was honored as the college coach of the year and Vick was given the award for professional player of the year.
After getting the chance to spend time again with Vick, Beamer talked about how proud he is of what Vick did for Virginia Tech and is even more impressed with the work that he has done to regain the status as one of the NFL's elite players.
"What he did for Virginia Tech football, he took us to a National Championship game and to me he's always been the same - a good person, a good heart, made some bad decisions and now he's trying like heck to work his way back and you've got to appreciate that," Beamer said. "He'd be the first to tell you that his judgment wasn't good. I think he's trying like heck to help a lot of young people make good decisions."
Vick's ability to play the quarterback position has matured immensely over the past two years with the Eagles. When watching Vick play for the Eagles, Beamer can appreciate the subtle differences in his game. But by and large, the foundation of what made Vick a great player in college remains very much the same.
"The basics are still there. He can really throw the football. He's got a quick, quick release," Beamer said. "He's so very competitive. He's got great football sense, but how competitive he is and how he can rise to the occasion, I don't think that's changed at all."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 6:00 p.m., March 7