As for Logan Thomas, and yes that’s a very asute observation as VT has been the slash/running qb school for over a decade since MV1. Quite a string of talent at that position in that style, so its natural to presume that our next is another hybrid. The answer is a no, but then his is a semi-hybrid in another fashion, but then a full convert also.
Heres the skinny. He was the #1 TE recruit in the country 3 years ago from Lynchburg, VA. Tech got him and its notable that he played primarily QB and LB in H.S. Whats funny is colleges were projecting him as a sick Hback prospect with his size (6'6), and still growing body which is now just over 240. His legit 4.6 speed with make him a viable hback nightmare was the presumption. Fair, yet if you go watch his QB tape from H.S. his is manchilding this kids. He is slinging it WAY down field, on a rope, running around freely cause he's to big to tackle.
He gets to VT, starts at TE and we realize we needed a better heir apparent at QB since we had a few recruiting qb wiffs at the same time. Hey Logan, why don't you try QB if you're open to it. He reluctantly did for the sake of the team, thinking he was leaving a future nfl position at te. Well they moved him for a reason, the kid is seriously metricly suprior or even to Cam Newton, and he's a f-sophomore this year. Forever the Randalls and Taylors had to fight for playing time, be thrown to the wolves, never got a redshirt, etc. Now, finally, this kid has been groomed the right way.
I envision him to be about an 80-90% pocket passer most of the time. I also think when opportunities to run present themselves, he'll fully take advantage. The same way Newton used his 240lbs to bull for yards, Thomas is of the same ilk. I've already heard him quoted recently as he likes contact, isn't shy of finishing off a run and doesn't concern himself with the danger aspect b/c one of his size advantage, but two as he really liked hitting as a LB his H.S. That is he gets hurt, its football. I like this mentality, and to me he has more gray matter than TT. I've read all his interviews, and his is surprisingly well thought out and impressive when he speaks. He has the offensive scheme under his thumb. He just needs experience. We have a great Sept schedule, so that’s sets up nicely. Aside from the metric stuff and running, where he is so impressive is the arm. When its coming, you better be ready. As much arm as I've seen from a collegiate qb (minus mallett) recently. At 6'6, and the delivery is right over the top and with authority, you're not getting many batted balls with a delivery that high. The nfl scouts liked Newton's delivery, in 2-3 years they'll be frothing at what this kids is arm wise at that point. So he sees the whole field easily, and can now open up our playbook more. Screens, Slants to David Wilson are a td waiting to happen, and we wouldn't run them with TT b/c of his height.
So no, he's not our typical. MV1 was a different animal, you had to win in different ways with mostly running and long bombs. He's a whole new bag, Beamers never had a toy this potentially nice. Like I said, the medias already on him as the potential next newton, as you know we're always looking for the next great something. I wish they'd calm down, but its sorta easy to see all the sick metrics and potential.
Here's the flash of brillance that has added to the hype. Miami game last year, TT goes down for 1 play, Thomas steps in on 3rd and like 17 or so. Calm, cool, dropback, cannon strike down field to Coale for a first down. Cold off the bench, and I can't track the velocity of that ball on this youtube clip. But its impressive stuff either way.
Check starting at 3:30 for the throw, then 4:05 for another angle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cy9Wa7rT6yU
It gets sicker, the TD he caught last year as a split wide Hback ONE HANDED, tech sneaked him in at the goaline. This is why he was a good TE prospect, but this is the only time vt tried it all year.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKjJA8ub ... re=related
Last log for the discussion, an article about thomas from a vt site I frequent. The entire pt was to rangle the hype and sift it into reality. Good read if you have the time.
How Good is Logan Thomas ... Really?
by Will Stewart
General Manager and Associate Editor
May 18, 2011
It's the spring, and everyone's undefeated. Optimism for the 2011 season abounds. Recruiting is in full swing and will dominate the story lines for the next two months, and the current Hokie players are taking some down time before they return in force for second summer session in July. It's a good time to ask: How good is Logan Thomas ... really?
We can't know the answer to that, of course, until three years from now, when the clock winds down on the bowl game that closes out his career. Then we'll be able to place him in proper context among the greats, with names like Bob Schweickert, Don Strock, Maurice DeShazo, Jim Druckenmiller, Michael Vick, Bryan Randall and Tyrod Taylor.
But for now, we can play the game anyway. How good is Logan Thomas?
Logan Thomas is so good that he's Cam Newton-like. He's going to take the ACC by storm, then the country. He's 6-6, 245 and still growing, and soon he'll be 6-9, 300 pounds. If you happen to see him with his shirt off, and if you look real close, you'll see that his right arm is gradually morphing from a mere mortal "NFL arm" into a gleaming rocket launcher. Logan Thomas is changing into something more than human, and soon he'll announce that he has signed a multi-million dollar contract to star in the upcoming sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Converted Tight End.
He's made of pure awesome. Or so we're told.
We've been here before, dealing with high expectations, most recently leading up to the 2010 season opener against Boise State. I fell into the trap then (call me a sucker), so I'm leery of pumping up a team or a player before it or he hits the field.
But it's tempting with Logan Thomas. Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated already beat me to it, proclaiming in Ten Things We Learned This Spring that "Logan Thomas is Ready":
Normally, losing an accomplished four-year starting quarterback like Tyrod Taylor would be cause for panic, but in Blacksburg fans have been giddily awaiting the debut of Taylor's replacement -- and with good reason. Thomas, a 6-6, 245-pound redshirt sophomore, is a physical specimen with all the tools to be a big-time college quarterback. Coaches weren't sure what to expect in Thomas' first spring as the No. 1 guy, but three weeks later they were raving about his progress despite a pair of interceptions in the spring game. "I can't be more pleased with where he is right now," said position coach Mike O'Cain.
A twist to Thomas' ascension: O'Cain has taken over play-calling duties from offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring, a subject of constant fan criticism the past several years. It will be interesting to see how the former NC State coach maximizes his quarterback's abilities.
At #7 in a list of national storylines, that gets you pretty pumped at first glance. Then Mandel loses a chunk of credibility with "#8: Freshmen will boost the Irish." He sure is putting a lot of faith in guys who have never played significant minutes, which is usually a recipe for disappointment. (See: Boise State 33, Virginia Tech 30 for reference.)
Point being, there's plenty of Logan Thomas hype to go around. So let's examine what we can and let the chips fall where they may.
The Measurables are There
In case you haven't heard, Logan Thomas is 6-6, 245, with a rocket for an arm. He's the biggest Virginia Tech quarterback ... ever. Jim Druckenmiller once walked past me at the Roanoke Airport, and I thought he was huge, and he was listed a mere 6-4, 223 his senior year, when he was 24 years old. Druck was a bull of a quarterback, and Thomas, as a redshirt sophomore and still just 19 years old (he turns 20 in July) can eat pancakes off Druckenmiller's head.
Sean Glennon isn't necessarily remembered as a big guy, but he was identical in size to Druckenmiller (6-4, 224) and, like Druckenmiller, set a couple of position records in the weight room. Don Strock was also decent-sized. I don't have Tech media guides from back in the day, but I've seen Strock listed at 6-5, 220 on pro-football-reference.com. That's not puny, and it was probably his pro playing weight. No one is going to confuse Strock, who came through college when weightlifting programs were mostly optional, with the beefier Druckenmiller, Thomas and even Glennon.
So when it comes to size, Logan Thomas stands alone among front-line VT quarterbacks. He's no burner and is not a scrambler, but at 4.65 in the forty, he's a better runner than Druckenmiller (and I'm guessing Strock) by far. Glennon posted a similar forty time as Thomas, but was never perceived as a runner.
Size, speed, arm strength ... physically, Logan Thomas is the real deal. He's the most advanced combination of size and speed the Hokies have ever had at quarterback.
His Career Arc Has Been Textbook
I've belabored this point before, but it bears repeating: for a college quarterback, Logan Thomas's career path has progressed in textbook fashion. You don't want quarterbacks playing as true freshmen. Bryan Randall and Tyrod Taylor were both pressed into service early, to the detriment of their careers.
Randall played sparingly as a true frosh in 2001, and it was a wasted year. He didn't hit his stride until mid-senior year in 2004, and another year would have been outstanding in his development. Tyrod Taylor also played as a true freshman in 2007 and spent two years running for his life, before he even got to think about slowing down and developing as a QB.
Riding the pine and getting your feet wet just a little as a redshirt freshman is a good recipe. Get used to wearing the uniform and signaling in the plays. Take a few snaps and feel the noise and the speed at field level, without having to play a lot in it. Thomas got to do this. Now he has three years to play significant minutes and should be reaching his maximum college potential as a redshirt senior.
Just as important: once it's your time, if you're the number one guy and everybody knows it, your career can progress rapidly. Instead of wasting time "competing" with other QB's, you get all the preparation as a starter. Starting as a redshirt sophomore will give Thomas three years to develop and hit his peak, and he will never have to look over his shoulder at the next guy. Fans will never clamor for the next guy while Logan Thomas is the starter, barring a shocking development.
Bryan Randall played behind Grant Noel for one year, then competed with him for a spring for the starting job. Then Randall dealt with platooning with Marcus Vick in 2003. Tyrod Taylor split time with Sean Glennon for two years, before he finally put Glennon behind him and could focus as the #1 guy. Logan Thomas has had no such distractions, no one dividing the attention he gets from the QB coach and offensive coordinator.
You couldn't ask for a better setup.
He Has a High Football IQ
Insiders are telling us that Thomas is picking up the offense faster than expected for a young quarterback, that he's got the fabled "high football IQ." Frank Beamer often says, "The game just makes sense to him," one of the highest forms of praise the hall of fame coach hands out. He uses it to indicate that a player is coming along quickly.
Has Beamer used that phrase with Logan Thomas? I'm not sure. But we're told that he's picking up the offense faster than Tyrod did, and Tyrod turned out to be a record-setting QB. And then there's the quote from Mike O'Cain above: "I can't be more pleased with where he is right now." No hemming, no hawing, just "he's doing great."
If you could pick one guy on your team to have a high football IQ, it would be your QB.
The Intangibles are There
"Whatever 'it' is, he's got it. This team is his team."
Those were the words of someone close to the team that we spoke to after spring football concluded.
Intangibles, by their nature, are hard to define, capture and quantify. It's one part leadership, one part physical presence, one part charisma, one part coolness under fire, one part focus ... I could go on and on. Primarily, Logan Thomas has the trust of his teammates, and they look to him as a leader.
Just listen to this quote from rising senior wide receiver Jarrett Boykin, courtesy of Kyle Tucker on April 20th:
"You can tell the difference from the first day of spring ball to now. Everything has gelled together and everything is moving quick and Logan's looking good out there. One day, I just sat back at practice and thought, 'Wow, this is going to be a franchise quarterback for an NFL team some day.' That's how impressed I've been."
Thomas has got other, subtle things you can't see, like strong moral character and perseverance. I heard him speak the day of the Spring Game at the breakfast put on by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), and anyone who is asked to get up in front of that crowd is highly unlikely to be caught, say, drinking alcohol with underage girls, speeding down the highway with dope in the car, or getting in a drunken bar fight.
Cross those concerns off the list. No wasted energy here.
At that FCA breakfast, Thomas talked about arriving at Tech with every intention of being a tight end, the NFL in his future. He never played tight end in high school (wide receiver for a year, then two years as a QB), but the recruiting services and college coaches had somehow come to the consensus that his path to the big stage was as a tight end.
And then the VT coaches put him at quarterback. "I didn't want to play quarterback," he said bluntly. But instead of whining or mailing it in, he stuck with it and applied himself, and now he's got the reins of a top-20 program in his hands, an adoring fan base watching to see what comes next, and national writers for Sports Illustrated writing things like "Logan Thomas is Ready."
He's not even 20 yet, and he already leans into the face of adversity and bears down. That will come in handy when he throws his first pick for a touchdown. Sure, "being put at quarterback" isn't the worst thing that can happen to a kid, but remember, he doubted it and didn't want to do it. He learned some lessons in the process of sticking with it that will serve him later.
He Has Already Made Clutch Plays
The last piece of the puzzle for Logan Thomas is, "Can he do it in a game?" We have only gotten small glimpses at what he might be able to do in actual game situations, and there have been some good moments and many unremarkable ones.
Everyone remembers the touchdown catch against Wake Forest, when Thomas was brought in near the goal line and split out as a wide receiver, so quickly that hardly anyone noticed and the TV announcers were caught off guard? He made a great catch on a corner route. Catching passes is not his future, but it was a great play nonetheless, made with very little time to prepare.
And of course, there's the long third-down pass against Miami, on the road, in a pressure situation. Logan Thomas trotted onto the field, locked and loaded, and delivered a strike. It was a part of a huge, game-changing drive that set the tone for Tech's key win and was part of the reason Randy Shannon's team sputtered down the stretch and he was fired.
The rest of his year wasn't memorable: 12-of-26 passing, 107 yards, no TDs or INTs. I recall a dropped snap, in his first play in mop-up duty in the game against Central Michigan. But the plays against Wake Forest and Miami, especially the one against Miami, are confidence builders for a young man going into his first offseason as the heir apparent. They were small moments in time, but they're valuable building blocks.
So, How Good is Logan Thomas ... Really?
For all that, the answer to the question "how good is he?" is still "we don't know." He has never been subjected to the rigors of running the offense for 65 plays a game, with no yellow jersey for protection, against defenses that have watched game film and specifically game planned to stop him. He has never had his bell rung, never been blindsided or had his ankle twisted, or been eye-gouged or kicked at the bottom of a pile.
His most successful moments, against Wake and Miami, have come at a moment's notice, with no time to reflect and have nerves set in. Logan Thomas has never lain awake in bed on a Friday night, wondering what's going to happen the next day, with game plans and strategies and checkdowns swirling through his mind, making it hard to go to sleep. He has never run out of the tunnel to "Enter Sandman" knowing that the first offensive snap, and every one after that, will be his. These things all change how a player approaches the game, when the theoretical becomes real.
But Logan Thomas does have the physical tools to succeed, and he appears to have the temperament and the intangibles. He has the trust of his teammates and coaches, and he has been well-prepared for what's coming. In a few months, we'll set the wheels in motion on his career and see where it takes the program.