Since their 1999 run that saw them reach the BCS National Championship Game behind an explosive freshman quarterback that you may have heard of named Michael Vick, the Virginia Tech Hokies have had a string of quality QBs pass through Blacksburg. Names such as Sean Glennon, Marcus Vick and Tyrod Taylor kept Virginia Tech in the realm of being known as a consistent national power.
In 2011, it seemed as if 6-6, 260-pound Logan Thomas was ready to carry on that tradition. Guiding the Hokies to an Orange Bowl appearance–an overtime loss to the Michigan Wolverines, Thomas had everyone from casual fans to NFL scouts drooling over him.
Then, 2012 happened.
No, the world didn’t end like many predicted, but Logan Thomas being regarded as an elite college quarterback certainly did end–at least in my eyes.
Thomas and Virginia Tech stumbled their way to a 7-6 record, barely becoming bowl eligible, and the QB was less-than-impressive in the process. 2,976 yards, 18 touchdowns and an unnecessary 16 interceptions was the best performance the Virginia native could muster up to try and live up to the hype thrust upon him after 2011.
Now many point to the fact that VT lost their dynamic running back David Wilson as well as a combined 151 career starts on the offensive line, thus creating an environment where Thomas was left with nothing to work with. If you want to look on paper, then yes this logic works. However when you look back at the actual games, Virginia Tech had more than ample opportunities to be better than a 6-6 squad, and a lot of that was on Thomas and his inability to keep the ball with his own team.
Before, I used the adjective “unnecessary” to describe Thomas’ INT total for last season and that’s because that’s exactly what they were. His inability to make snap decisions was exposed. If there was one thing that the absence of a power running game exposed, it was that. A vast majority of those 16 picks were simply just poor decisions down the field. While many, many times Thomas had opportunities to maximize some short throws to create some more open options down the pipeline, he chose poorly and it backfired on him.
More or less, he did not in any way prove himself to be a field general and tactically create scoring options for his offensive unit.
When it was announced that newly-hired offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler was going to personally work with Thomas prior to this season, it created optimism for Blacksburg folks. So, by the time the spring game rolled around back in April, VT fans were ready to see the ’11 version of their QB so they can rest easy.
What were they treated to? They were treated to Thomas throwing three head-scratching interceptions in a scrimmage against his own team. The more things change, the more they stay the same. The optimism for their upcoming opener against the Alabama Crimson Tide must have shot through the roof following that.
I will be completely honest that when the Maxwell Award Watch List was announced the other day and I saw Thomas’ name on there, I was a bit shocked. Unless I’m missing something from last season, people are obviously still using the name recognition Thomas garnered for himself following 2011.
I’m having a very difficult time understanding how that performance from last season verifies his status as a potential elite in the country this season.
Jack is the ACC College Football Writer for Rant Sports. Follow Jack on Twitter @JackJ14RS