Logan Thomas setting new standard for first-year starting quarterbacks at Virginia Tech under Frank Beamer
“I’ve gone up to him and said, ‘So you want to be an H-back, huh?’” Stinespring said. “And he’ll laugh. I haven’t really said I told you so, but [I give] those little jabs here and there.”
The two joke about the past now, the well-known story of how Thomas wanted to play tight end/H-back in college, going so far as eliminating schools that offered him only as a quarterback out of high school.
Virginia Tech obliged but pulled a switch once Thomas got on campus, asking if he’d at least give quarterback a shot.
“We looked at him,” quarterbacks coach and play-caller Mike O’Cain said of the short evaluation in August. “Very rough, very raw. Balls were all over the place, but you saw a strong arm, you saw a quick delivery and a guy I felt could be accurate. Probably the most important thing was in four days he grasped what we were doing very quickly, in terms of the game management part – huddle control, motions, timing on motions, all of the things that you really take for granted. As a quarterback coach you don’t take them for granted.
“He picked up on those things very quickly, didn’t get flustered, so after those five days we brought him in and said this is what I believe: I believe No. 1 you can be a quarterback here.”
It clearly stuck.
“I’ve definitely enjoyed being a quarterback,” said Thomas, who watched and waited behind Tyrod Taylor for two years.. “It’s definitely where I guess I’m supposed to be.”
It’s obvious now the coaches made the right choice. Thomas, a 6-foot-6, 254-pound physical marvel, threw for 2,799 yards and 19 touchdowns this season and added another 416 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. He’s 187 yards shy of Taylor’s single-season school record for total offense (3,402 yards) set last year.
Thomas thinks he’s displayed every skill he has.
“I’ve showed that I can throw the ball, and I’ve shown that I can run the ball,” he said. “Anybody who is a fan of the game probably says yeah, the comparisons were unfair to Cam Newton because, obviously, he won the Heisman. I’ll take them, but I’m not that type of player yet. I’ve still got a long way to go. I think there’s always room for improvement, but I think that I’m happy with my first year. Obviously, I want two games back that we had and just great preparation for the Sugar Bowl.”
For a first-year starter, Thomas has surpassed the expectations — even his lofty ones. Coaches are eager to see what he could accomplish in the future.
“Most people, they spend their whole lives gearing to be a quarterback at this level,” Stinespring said. “Football camps, quarterback camps. So when you go out there and see Logan, who really in high school didn’t play quarterback until he was a junior. Then he picked up a basketball, then he ran track, and he picked up a football again Aug. 5. … And now you’ve got a guy who has gone out and played like he has this year, and still has the opportunity I believe — and he believes — to have better days in front of him.”
I compared Thomas to other first-year starters at Virginia Tech under head coach Frank Beamer last month, but now that the regular season is over, it’s a good time to revisit it.
- 2011: Logan Thomas, r-So., 11-2, 2,799 passing yards, 19 TDs, 416 rushing yards, 10 TDs
- 2008: Tyrod Taylor, So., 11-3 record, 1,036 passing yards, 2 TDs, 738 rushing yards, 7 TDs
- 2006: Sean Glennon, r-So., 10-3 record, 2,191 passing yards, 11 TDs, -81 rushing yards, 1 TD
- 2005: Marcus Vick, r-Jr., 11-2 record, 2,393 passing yards, 17 TDs, 380 rushing yards, 6 TDs
- 2002: Bryan Randall, So., 10-4 record, 10-4, 2,134 passing yards, 12 TDs, 507 rushing yards, 3 TDs
- 2001*: Grant Noel, r-Jr., 8-4 record, 2,095 passing yards, 17 TDs, -40 rushing yards, 2 TDs
- 1999*: Michael Vick, r-Fr., 11-1 record, 2,065 passing yards, 13 TDs, 682 rushing yards, 9 TDs
- 1997*: Al Clark, r-Jr., 7-5 record, 1,543 passing yards, 10 TDs, 325 rushing yards, 3 TDs
- 1995*: Jim Druckenmiller, r-Jr., 10-2 record, 2,369 passing yards, 15 TDs, 59 rushing yards, 0 TDs
- 1992: Maurice DeShazo, r-So., 2-8-1 record, 1,504 passing yards, 12 TDs, 206 rushing yards, 2 TDs
- 1988: Will Furrer, r-Fr., 3-8 record, 1,384 passing yards, 6 TDs, -87 rushing yards, 0 TDs
- (* Includes bowl stats, although officially NCAA didn’t count them prior to 2002)
Thomas is tops on this list in terms of passing yards, total yards, passing touchdowns, rushing touchdowns and (obviously then) touchdown accountability.
In terms of best season for a first-year starter under Beamer, it probably comes down to Thomas and the Vick brothers. Michael’s 1999 season has to get some bonus points just for the fact that he led the team to the national title game, even if his raw numbers weren’t as good as Thomas this season (although Vick had one fewer game).
What do you think? Where would you rank Thomas among Tech’s first-year starters. Post in the comment section below.