Josh Jackson in the Fight for Starting Quarterback Job, Fuente Says

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Josh Jackson, Justin Fuente
Freshman quarterback Josh Jackson (right) is now in the mix to start for Virginia Tech.

There was big news regarding Virginia Tech’s quarterback competition on Tuesday night, but it’s not what you might think.

Instead of naming a starter, Virginia Tech Head Coach Justin Fuente said that true freshman quarterback Josh Jackson has fought his way into the competition between Jerod Evans and Brenden Motley, and that it is now a three-way race.

“He’s had a really good camp and a great summer,” Fuente said. “Don’t overreact to what I’m saying. I don’t know, I still don’t know which way it’s going to go, but he’s had a really good camp.”

“I think he’s done the three things that I set out for those guys to do,” Fuente said. “I’m not saying on a more consistent basis than anyone else, just more consistently than he did it in the spring, in terms of valuing the football, in terms of managing the ups and downs of practice and in terms of predicted outcomes. He’s distributing the ball the places it’s supposed to go.”

Just this spring, Fuente said that the competition was down to Evans, a JUCO-transfer, and Motley, a redshirt-senior.

“We’ll see how it goes, I’m encouraged by all three,” Fuente said. “All three work hard, are good people and want what’s best for Virginia Tech.”

As a high school senior, Jackson threw for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns while rushing for 478 yards and eight touchdowns.

Jackson, who was a 3-star recruit out of Saline, MI., enrolled for the spring semester in 2016 and has been working with the team since then. Jackson had 14 scholarship offers, the most notable ones being Boston College, Minnesota, Northwestern, Oregon State, Syracuse and Utah.

We’ve seen very little of Jackson in the Spring Game and in practice, so here is his senior year highlight film.

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24 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Best case scenario; have JJ end-up being “tied for second string”, get him lots of practice reps & game preparation but still red-shirt him unless of emergency needs.

  2. Anything is possible I suppose, but everyone who really thinks JJ is going to be our starter this year, stand on their heads. Obviously, regardless whether he does or not, this is great news because clearly Coach Fuente believes the kid can play and it’s still very early, which is exciting for the future. Hey, may the best man win…

    1. Of course, on second thought, my nay saying aside; Fuente does have a bit of a history of decisions like this, if memory serves he went with Paxton Lynch at Memphis over some older guys and that seemed to work out pretty well. Hmmmm:)…

  3. I’d rather trot out the best quarterback for the year rather than the most mature. Talent wins games – Coach knows what he is doing!

  4. Ricky, thanks for pumping out quality/informative articles, really great job so far!

    Side note, in the paragraph above the video you say JJ enrolled in the spring semester LAST year, do you mean this past spring (2016)? its early, maybe I read it wrong.

  5. Check out at about 1:15 in…he takes a massive shot from the De and still delivers it on the money…

  6. Impressive young QB! Don’t we have Loeffler to thank for recruiting him to VT? Thanks Lefty!

  7. Good size, strong, accurate arm, very good mobility. there were a few throws in the film that will get picked in college but he’ll learn and he’ll need to learn to slide to avoid hits but impressive athlete. I’m feeling good about all three now. May the best man win!
    I think the success of this years team will depend on our defense. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt the offense will be better than the defense.

  8. Not sure why Coach Fuente would ‘change gears’ so late in the competition process. Unlike my VT ‘posting piers’, I see absolutely no benefit in this decision making !!! JMHO !!!

    1. What’s the alternative? Pretend as though Jackson isn’t performing as well as the other two? You can’t run a meritocracy and then disregard merit.

      1. That’s not entirely fair, you do want to build a QB pipeline and getting freshmen situated and experienced through red-shirting is part of your long term plan…

        … but yeah, if the head-lights in the rear view mirror are getting closer real fast you might not have a choice.

    2. Piers, huh? So you’re saying that everyone who agrees to make him part of the competition is too grounded in their opinion in this sea of change?

    3. performance impetus: applies right-kind of more competitive pressure on both Evans and Motley to get the job won and starting decision done.

      and pre-hence, Lawson ducked and transfers.

      Go Hokies!

  9. Is this an indictment on the performance of Motley and Evans? Hope not. Rather trot out a slightly more mature QB for this yr

    1. Not necessarily – Jackson could just be out-performing them – in other words, it’s a positive reflection on him as opposed to an indictment of them. On the other hand, maybe the prolonged QB battle has gotten to Evans & Motley and one or both needed a kick in the pants to get re-motivated. At the end of the day, I don’t think we’re going to end up with Bryan Randall or Tyrod-level QB play this season, but it sounds like we have now 3 guys that could effectively man the position and be serviceable game-managers/ball distributors.

    2. Yeah, indictment is too strong a word, they are what they are, but lack of news, that is, buzz, is not a good thing. I haven’t heard anything that excites me, the word “placeholder” comes to mind – and I can see a situation where the red-shirt helps our longer term QB situation if, if someone can do an adequate job this year. But again, “adequate” is not a thrilling word.

  10. If he has made that sort of progress from spring to now, then a redshirt and 5th yr will make this guy an all-star. I see a more polished Randall as a freshman and his tape and play gives glimpses of Russ Wilson in how he moves and throws. I think he will be a great, but he better be head and shoulders better than the older guys, because that intangible of experience will matter

      1. With the season a couple of weeks away, and neither one of them named starter yet? How much more “pressure” do they need?..Let’s hope this is a hell of a lot more than just an “eye-opener” move..I suspect it is.

        We had better HOPE it’s because, as P&J says above, it’s because JJ was that damned good and you HAD to put him in the mix, in the interest of fairness….It’s the only acceptable explanation to me. I’d rather not consider the other side of that coin!

  11. First time I’ve seen this video. 3/4 arm delivery, with a quick release. Still hard to believe that Joshua will beat out more experienced players but I trust coach Fuente to play the QB he feels gives them the best chance to win, NOW. Coach needs to get things turned around quickly to build on the momentum of his hire and new start.

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