2012 Football Preview: Quarterbacks

No player can win or lose a game for you faster than a quarterback.  Fortunately the Hokies have one of the best signal callers in college football.  Logan Thomas is coming off a very impressive r-sophomore season, and he will look to make an even bigger splash in 2012.

Despite being a question mark heading into the 2011 season, Thomas threw for 3,013 yards with 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.  His 3,482 yards of total offense marked a new Virginia Tech record.  At 6-6, 262, he is one of the most physically impressive players in the game today.  He’s got a good head on his shoulders, and he’s a good teammate as well.  He has first round pick written all over him.

The Hokies have a big advantage at quarterback, but there are still some questions that need to be addressed.

Logan Thomas

Logan Thomas : Will He Stay or Will He Go?

Logan Thomas will face the biggest decision of his life in early January.  Will he remain at Virginia Tech for his senior season, or will he declare for the NFL Draft?  He’ll have many factors to consider, such as draft projections this year and next year, what other quarterbacks will be in the draft this year, which teams have a need at quarterback, etc.  Often times it’s not an easy decision.

His competition is a mix of rising seniors and juniors.  Matt Barkley (USC) and Tyler Wilson (Arkansas) will be seniors, and they are projected as early first rounders.  Tyler Bray (Tennessee) will be a junior, and he has the potential to be a first round pick.  Landry Jones (Oklahoma) is another possibility.  Thomas seems to be a lock to be one of the top five quarterbacks taken, and perhaps one of the top three.  That makes him a very likely first round selection.  That’s tough to turn down.

On the other hand, if he returns for his senior season he could potentially be the #1 quarterback in the draft, and that means he could potentially be the #1 overall pick.  Could that be an incentive to return for his senior season?  Certainly.

On the other hand, I’m not sure he would be as productive in 2013 as he’ll be in 2012.  Thomas will lose his top two offensive tackles, and his top backup tackle (Via).  He’ll lose the current top four receivers on the depth chart: Marcus Davis, D.J. Coles, Dyrell Roberts and Corey Fuller.  I believe his numbers would go down as a senior with so many young wide receivers being broken in, and that could potentially hurt his draft value.

When it comes down to it, I think it will be very difficult for Thomas to turn down that first round money in the 2013 NFL Draft.  I think 2012 will be his last season as Virginia Tech’s starting quarterback.

That leads me to another thought.  What’s the buyout on that 2013 Alabama game?  Tech will be breaking in a new quarterback, two new offensive tackles and a new group of receivers against an Alabama defense that is expected to return almost all of their starters.  The Tech defense will be outstanding that year, but I think we’re looking at a 20-3 type of score.  Blech.

Mark Leal ‘s Progression is Critical

Mark Leal (6-0, 212, r-So.) will serve as the primary backup to Logan Thomas for the second consecutive season.  He is entering his third season in the program, and he should be fully functional as far as knowing the system and being able to execute it, if he is ever called upon in a game.

Leal has been impressive in scrimmages, as well as mop-up action.  He threw two touchdown passes in his collegiate debut against Appalachian State a year ago, and he was also 3-of-4 for 40 yards in the fourth quarter against UVA.  He nearly led the Hokies on another scoring drive, despite the fact that the game was already out of hand.

Leal is a natural pocket passer.  He played in a big-time passing offense in high school, where his quarterbacks coach was former Bowling Green standout Omar Jacobs.