When Brandon Flowers departed Virginia Tech as a second-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008, there was always a voice that would eventually draw him back to Blacksburg.

“I can’t thank you guys enough from turning me from a boy into a man here,” Flowers told longtime defensive coordinator Bud Foster. “I came from a tougher background, and school wasn’t my strong suit when I first came here. I went to the NFL and I was fortunate enough to get three, four nice contracts, and at the end of the day I could still hear, in the back of my head, Coach [Frank] Beamer talking about ‘get your degree.’

“I always still come through that tunnel for spring games and during [homes] games feeling left out because my name isn’t on that board without a graduation cap. That just always stuck with me … I had to go back no matter what. I don’t care how long it takes. It’s been 10 years but I still just wanted to be on that board, and I felt that I owed it to you guys, just be like, hey, I got my degree. That’s what I came here for and that’s what I’m going to leave with, no matter what.”

Mission accomplished. Flowers spent the spring back on campus and completed his sociology degree, walking in graduation ceremonies that took place in May. Up next, Flowers plans to pursue his MBA at the University of Miami, near his home in Delray Beach, Florida.

In addition to putting the finishing touches on his coursework, Flowers spent an afternoon catching up with Bud Foster. The mutual respect between the two men was apparent as they discussed Coach Beamer, Flowers’ teammates, and more. Flowers also bumped into the current head coach, Justin Fuente, and made a point of telling him how welcome he felt back in Blacksburg and how much he appreciated the direction of the program under his leadership.

And while strolling through the locker room and the practice field, Flowers also made a compelling argument for why any promising football prospect should consider Virginia Tech.

“When I came here, I just felt like this was home,” Flowers said. “I didn’t take any other visits. I was just like, this is the place I need to be. I felt the family vibe. The [home] games are insane. I don’t care if another college’s stadium is bigger, it’s not going to get louder than this place right here [Lane Stadium]. If you love football, this is the place to be.”

Written by Pete Moris, associate athletics director in strategic communications at Virginia Tech, and reprinted courtesy of Virginia Tech Athletics.