Virginia Tech football: 10 Hokies who defined Bud Foster’s Lunch Pail players

The lunch pail represents the blue-collar mentality that Bud Foster instilled in the Hokies' defense from 1995-2015. These players defined that mentality and excelled in Blacksburg.

Virginia Tech Hokies defensive end Ken Ekanem (4) carries the lunch pail
Virginia Tech Hokies defensive end Ken Ekanem (4) carries the lunch pail / Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
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With his action in the transfer portal this offseason, it looks like Brent Pry knows how to build a program, but we know for sure he knows how to appeal to a fanbase. In 2022, Pry brought back Bud Foster’s lunch pail which is given to a defensive leader who represents the blue-collar work ethic that the program values. 

Foster continues to leave his imprint on the program, especially since Pry took over.

Pry was a graduate assistant under Frank Beamer and Bud Foster back in 1995-97, so he was with the Hokies when the lunch pail began in ‘95, Foster’s first year as defensive coordinator. The tradition continued until 2019, Beamer and Foster’s last season in Blacksburg. 

Whoever earns the lunch pail for the week is tasked with bringing it to practice all week and to the sideline on game day. Certain players represented that identity that Foster wanted to foster over his 25 years roaming the sidelines of Lane Stadium, and these are the top 10 lunch pail guys in Hokie history. 

. 2007-09. Cody Grimm. Cody Grimm. 10. 447. Lunch pail. player. . LB

Son of Russ Grimm of the Washington Football Team, Cody was destined to play football but wasn't given preordained playing time because of his last name. Grimm redshirted his freshman season and was primarily a special-teamer in 2007 as a sophomore. Then, in 2008, he earned playing time on the defense at outside linebacker and recorded 71 tackles, 14.0 for a loss, and 7.5 sacks.

In 2009, Grimm was even better and was named a third-team All-American with 106 tackles, 12.5 for a loss, and 4.5 sacks. Grimm earned his playing time with hard work and a blue-collar mentality, despite his father's NFL fame and name.