Brotherhood takes on stronger meaning for VMI locals

‘It’s been cool getting a few years under my belt and just playing with everybody.’

ROANOKE, Va. – A tight bond or strong brotherhood is essential for any good football program. But at VMI, the southwest Virginia connection has made it even better for a number of guys.

As the Keydets adjust to new offensive and defensive schemes, two of the anchors on each side of the ball are local products. Senior wide receiver Leroy Thomas has battled injury the past few years but is hoping to continue to be a leader. The former Patrick Henry standout has over 100 receptions over the past three seasons for 1,367 yards and 7 touchdowns.

On defense, Lord Botetourt grad Evan Eller is doing the same but at a new position--linebacker. Both say the camaraderie with the southwest Virginia guys makes positive impacts.

“Being one of the first one’s here feels really good because I talk to the coaches all the time and say we have kids back in Roanoke and that there’s dogs out there too,” Thomas said. “We’ve always been a slept on city and slept on part of the state but we just have to keep going, keep grinding and just make it out.”

“It’s been cool getting a few years under my belt and just playing with everybody,” Eller said. “I have a lot of chemistry now with my grade, the one above me, a few of the 5th years and even the grade below me. So, it’s cool playing with all these guys now and everything is coming together with the new coaching staff.”

The 2022 season for the Keydets kicks off on the road at Wake Forest on Thursday night.

About the Author:

Eric is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a Roanoke native and proud graduate of William Fleming High School.