In the college football landscape, each school has its own traditions that span generations. These rich traditions help encapsulate what makes the sport — and college athletics in general — so special to so many people.
It can be argued that few programs have the tradition of continuity and unity as well as the Virginia Tech football team. Since 1987, more than 30 brothers have donned the maroon VT helmet and been a part of the program.
“Our program prides itself on the family atmosphere it fosters,” the head coach said. Brent Pr. “The legacy of family members following their relatives to play football here is very special and something we hope to continue for a long, long time.”
It is brotherhood in every sense of the word. But why this fraternity has persisted over the decades is a question that can best be answered by the three sets of fraternities on the current VT roster.
Stephen and between Benji GosnellCaden and Braylin MooreAnd Jayden and Earth MacDonald, they certainly had options to play football elsewhere. Instead they all chose to play together here in Blacksburg VA.
Together, they’re honoring a tradition that existed before they even entered campus, and when they’re gone, they’re still very much alive in the program.
There’s no greater feeling than being a part of something bigger than yourself, and the Gosnells, Moores and McDonalds carry a legacy that sets the VT football program apart from the rest of the country.
“We’ve been really fortunate to have so many brothers choose to be a part of our program over the years,” said former head coach Frank Beamer. “That second or third family member chooses Virginia Tech based on their older sibling’s positive experience and feels like part of our family. As more family members decide to play hockey, it’s a credit to our program.”
From competitors to teammates
For the Gosnell brothers, playing together in college wasn’t always in the cards. When Stephenson played for North Carolina in his first two collegiate seasons, they were meant to be conference rivals as opposed to teammates.
“We’ve played together since we were in little league,” Stephens said. “But when I committed to UNC and Benji committed to VT, we never thought about playing together.” “Honestly, we’re excited to play each other.”
That all changed after the 2021 season when Stephen entered the transfer portal. While Benjy was a freshman for the 2022 season, VT connected with Stephens and he soon committed.
In their first season together last season, the brothers got a taste of the impact they could have on the program in the spring game last April.
“We were on the same Maroon team and we got first downs on consecutive plays,” Stephens said. “That was a special moment, but it opened my eyes to the role we can play together on this team, especially because we play on that side of the ball.”
Benji also enjoys sharing the field with his older brother. The family atmosphere and culture is one of the main reasons he made it to VT, and having Stephen with him only strengthens that environment.
“What I love about VT is that I always feel like I have someone to talk to like family through the ups and downs in my life,” Benji said. “Having Stephen by my side, it gives me peace of mind knowing I can go to him, but I know I have a whole locker room full of guys who have my back. That’s a great feeling.”
Raised in a family of 12 siblings, they are proud to be a part of a program that values their upbringing and continues to be a family priority today.
“VT’s value to family makes me not only a better player, but a better husband, father and overall person,” Benji said. “Everything you learn here and how you push yourself to be the best will continue long after college.”
“VT made me realize how much it means to me to be closer to home,” Stephens said. “Playing with Benji on a daily basis makes the sweat and pain that much more meaningful.”
side by side
Similar to the Gosnells, the Moore brothers play together on the same side of the ball. But they go one step further by playing alongside each other.
Kaden is the center, and Breelyn, who is two years younger, plays guard. This unique activity has greatly benefited the brothers both on and off the field.
“It’s definitely been a blessing to have Breelyn by my side,” Caden said. “It’s helped me a lot mentally, knowing what I’m getting from him, every game they play with him is with me. Having that relationship on and off the field has made us better brothers, teammates and players.”
“It’s rare to get the chance to line up next to your brother, so it’s not something I take lightly,” Brelin said. “He played for two seasons before I got on campus, and he’s been a wealth of knowledge for me. We have a natural connection on the field and we feed off each other’s confidence to elevate our games.”
Both agree that the family dynamic is what sets VT apart from programs across the country. It’s a culture they see embedded in the team, and one they believe will live on for years to come.
“The brothers playing at VT have a long history and I think it’s because of the family atmosphere that’s been established,” Brelin said. “When I got here last year, it was an easy transition because everyone treated me and my brother like family. It’s really a band of brothers.”
“To be able to add to that long history is special,” Caden said. “Coach Pry does a great job of emphasizing team first, togetherness and being your brother’s keeper, which highlights the culture they are establishing and promoting.”
The Moore brothers look forward to continuing to play against each other during their remaining seasons together, and in doing so, reinforce the family tradition that means so much to them both.
It looks like home
Earth duck Jayden McDonald They’re not just brothers – they’re twins. Like many twins, they considered themselves a package deal and had no interest in playing football at separate colleges.
“We were recruiting in the midst of Covid so we didn’t network much,” Jayden said. We rely solely on Twitter to gain popularity.
They posted their internship on social media and started getting interest from major DI universities including VT.
“We didn’t have any deals before Vivid, so it was surreal,” says Jordan. “Once schools started reporting the videos we posted online, that’s when the offers came in. The day we got the offer from VT, we made a commitment.”
While growing up in Salem, VA, they are excited to be so close to home and represent their family and community as they pursue their dreams.
“Ever since we were kids, Jordan and I have always dreamed of playing football at the professional level,” Jayden said. “At VT, we’re one step closer to achieving that dream, and having a place nearby where our family can come to every home game means the world to both of us.”
“This is where we always wanted to play,” Jordan said. “We were just waiting for that opportunity. Once the opportunity arrived, we knew we would be surrounded by a close-knit community. VT felt like home to us.”
While there are many brothers who have played football at VT to continue a proud history and tradition, the McDonalds want to be the first set of twins to make a big impact on the program.
As a redshirt sophomore, they still have plenty of time to make that goal and their dreams of professional football a reality.
Continuation of inheritance
It’s abundantly clear that wearing a VT jersey is about more than conference competition, bowl games and championships. It is a continuation of the legacy of the brothers and families that have gone before and the many that will come after.
When Gosnells, Moores and MacDonald take the field this fall, they’ll be brothers ready to go to war, welcomed by the heavy metal classic, “Enter the Sandman.”
Even more, they carry with them the tradition that makes Blacksburg one of the most unique places for college football.