Logan Thomas is coming back.
The quarterback announced Tuesday on ESPNU’s College Football Live that he will return for his senior season with the Hokies, a major boost for a Virginia Tech team looking to rebound from a 7-6 record, its worst season in 20 years.
“We have a legacy of winning a lot of games and championships,” Thomas said on the show. “It kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. I want to come back and have a better season this year.”
Thomas said he informed Hokies coaches Frank Beamer, Bryan Stinespring and Shane Beamer of his decision Monday. The deadline to enter the draft was Tuesday.
“They were smiling, laughing and giving me high fives,” Thomas said. “They told me they were happy to have their leader back in the room, and I’m happy to be back.”
The word came not long after former Auburn and Temple offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler interviewed in Blacksburg on Monday. CBS Sports reported that Loeffler has been hired, although Virginia Tech and sources close to the program have yet to confirm that it’s official.
Regardless, it’s clear that a major overhaul to Virginia Tech’s offensive staff is in order, which might have played a factor into Thomas’ decision. Although Frank Beamer has not formally announced any openings on his staff, he has actively looked for a new offensive coordinator since Virginia Tech’s Russell Athletic Bowl win against Rutgers.
Loeffler, the Hokies presumed hire, has a history of working with NFL-bound quarterbacks in his college coaching career. In his time with Michigan and Florida, he’s worked with eventual pros in Brian Griese, Tom Brady, Chad Henne, Drew Henson, John Navarre and Tim Tebow.
By returning, Thomas has a chance to set several school career records. He’s well within reach of Tyrod Taylor’s records for total offense and passing yards and Bryan Randall’s mark for passing touchdowns.
In his college career, Thomas has accounted for 7,111 total yards, 6,096 passing yards and 37 passing touchdowns, numbers that put him third, third and fifth on the Hokies’ all-time lists.
The 6-foot-6, 260-pound Thomas was considered a potential top 10 pick by many after a sophomore season in which he broke his predecessor Taylor’s single-season school mark in total offense (3,482 yards). Thomas also accounted for 30 touchdowns, leading the Hokies to an 11-3 record and trip to the Sugar Bowl.
But he watched his draft stock drop after a mediocre 2012 campaign. Although he broke his own yardage mark (3,500 yards) in one fewer game, his accuracy as a passer fell as he adjusted to life without four senior offensive linemen, receivers Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale and running back David Wilson.
Thomas’ completion percentage dropped from 59.8 in 2011 to 51.3 in 2012 and he threw 16 interceptions, tied for fourth-most nationally.
“I think with any quarterback, they’ll preach accuracy,” Thomas said, when asked what he needs to improve. “But for me, I need to be a lot more consistent. I had a lot of throws get away from me this year. I’ve just got to take care of the little things that will make me become a better quarterback.”
With Wilson gone, Thomas was forced to shoulder a large portion of the running game. His 524 rushing yards led the team, the first time a quarterback has led the Hokies in rushing since Bobby Owens in 1965. He said he thinks Tech will be able to run the ball better in 2013.
Thomas’ announcement comes a week after cornerback Antone Exum and defensive end James Gayle let it be known that they would return for their senior seasons.
It’s the first time since 2009 the Hokies haven’t had a player leave early for the NFL. Wilson and cornerback Jayron Hosley did it last year. Running backs Ryan Williams and Darren Evans did it in 2011. Defensive end Jason Worilds did it in 2010.
It’s sure to help as the Hokies prepare to take on two-time defending national champion Alabama in the 2013 season opener in the Georgia Dome.
“It’s going to be a great challenge for us,” Thomas said. “I think it will be a motivator for us in the offseason. I think we’ll be excited and ready to go Aug. 31.”
Attainable Virginia Tech career records
- 1. Tyrod Taylor, 9,213 yards
- 2. Bryan Randall, 8,034 yards
- 3. Logan Thomas, 7,111 yards
- 1. Tyrod Taylor, 7,017 yards
- 2. Bryan Randall, 6,508 yards
- 3. Logan Thomas, 6,096 yards
- 1. Bryan Randall, 48
- 2. Maurice DeShazo, 47
- 3. Tyrod Taylor, 44
- 4. Will Furrer, 43
- 5. Logan Thomas, 37