Virginia offensive coordinator Bill Lazor got me thinking the other day when he said of UVa’s quarterback situation, “We’ve got five great ones.”
He’s got a starting quarterback who passed for nearly 2,700 yards as a sophomore, a back-up QB whom some ranked as the No. 3 quarterback recruit in the country coming out of high school, a redshirt who played in 10 games last year and two promising freshmen, one of whom was enrolled in the spring and has evoked comparisons to Pro Bowler Matt Schaub.
Those five quarterbacks (in order) are junior Michael Rocco, sophomore Phillip Sims, sophomore David Watford, Greyson Lambert (the January enrollee) and Matt Johns.
Only time will tell if this is the greatest assemblage of quarterback talent that Virginia has had. And, remember, the Cavaliers have taken commitments from two quarterbacks for 2014 (Brendan Marshall and Corwin Cutler). None of the current quarterbacks is in his final year of college eligibility, so the Cavaliers could have seven QBs next year.
There is a chance that somebody could transfer or be moved to another position but it’s hard to say whom that might be. As I researched the different classes, it’s hard to find many other seasons when UVa had as many as five scholarship quarterbacks.
Some of these quarterback groups weren’t widely heralded at the time – the 1986 QBs come to mind – but have grown in stature as the period following their playing days has widened.
Here’s a quick take on the top five:
- Shawn Moore was the ACC player of the year in 1989 and 1990, and his back-up in both of those years, Matt Blundin was the ACC player of the year in 1991. The third quarterback, Bobby Goodman, had one of the great half-seasons in UVa history, with 19 TD passes in the first six games in 1992. I’ll go with ’90 because that’s the year UVa was ranked No. 1.
- The 1995 cast of Mike Groh, Aaron Brooks, Symmion Willis and Tim Sherman. All started at least one season for the Cavaliers and Brooks and Groh are Nos. 5 and 8 on the all-time passing list. Willis, who eventually transferred was 15th.
- The 1986 group that included senior Don Majkowski, junior Scott Secules and Moore, then a freshman who was redshirted. That team finished 3-8, the program’s only losing record over an 18-year career, but all three played in the NFL and rank 3, 10 and 11 on UVa’s all-time passing list.
- You can’t leave out all-time leading-passer Matt Schaub so I’ll go with UVa’s 2003 team, which captured the first of two Continental Tire Bowl titles. Schaub accounted for 403 of UVa’s 466 pass attempts but had an able back-up in Marques Hagans, who also played slot receiver who finished the year with 28 receptions
- Fifth, but a distant fifth, was the 2007 quarterback trio of Jameel Sewell, freshman Peter Lalich and Marc Verica. That team won nine games and played in the Gator Bowl. While Sewell and Verica are third and sixth on UVa’s all-time passing list, Sewell was ineligible in 2008 and Lalich was thrown off the team prior to a 5-7 finish.
I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve slighted somebody. Your comments are welcome. — DD