Quarterbacking Beyond Logan Thomas

USA TODAY Sports

Fifthyear senior Logan Thomas is in his final season, and barring any injuries, the future of who will run the offense is murky. This is an article to examine the candidates of current quarterbacks on the roster and those who are committed to the Hokies to date in the 2014 recruiting class.

When Logan Thomas exhausts his eligibility after the final game (be it in November or after the bowl game), the next Hokies quarterback to be anointed the starter is not quite as clear as some are making it out.

The Candidates

Redshirt-junior Mark Leal is currently the backup to Logan Thomas, a role which he has been in for two full seasons now. Leal has played in only 5 games as the backup quarterback in blow out wins over Austin Peay, Bowling Green, Appalachian State, Marshall, and Virginia. Beyond those appearances, he has been largely responsible for signaling in the plays to Logan Thomas during games.

Redshirt-freshman Brenden Motley was recently promoted to third-string quarterback. He has not made an appearance in any games, as he tore his meniscus in his left knee last spring, and was held out all spring. He comes from Christiansburg High School, where he was running the single-wing Wing-T offense under Tim Cromer and also doubled as a defensive back. His showing in the first August scrimmage opened a lot of eyes and have some fans wondering if he could be the next starter.

Senior Trey Gresh is a walk-on turned scholarship player at the position. Gresh will exhaust his eligibility this season, and has been a long time holder for the field goal unit.

Freshman Bucky Hodges was the Hokies top quarterback recruit in 2013, and was the highest-rated quarterback the Hokies have landed since Tyrod Taylor. This kid came to Blacksburg with all kinds of accolades. Depending on what recruiting services strikes your fancy, Hodges is either the number-10 pro-style quarterback in the nation by Rivals, the number 4 dual-threat quarterback by 247Sports, or the number 15 dual-threat quarterback by ESPN Recruiting Nation. He had mixed results in his first appearance in the August scrimmage. It's safe to assume Hodges may redshirt to work on his mechanics.

Redshirt-freshman Connor Jessop: There is not much to say about him except he was 4-7 for 25 yards in the Spring Game.

Redshirt-sophomore Brian Rody has been moved to tight end, which is a very surprising move since the last time a quarterback was moved to tight end, it was Greg Boone. During the Spring Game, he was 5-11, 62 yards passing.

Freshman Carlis Parker was one of the early enrollees in the class, but he has since been moved to wide receiver, which by all accounts is a permanent move.

Andrew Ford, committed, but not has signed the National Letter of Intent, is Loeffler's first quarterback recruit to commit to Virginia Tech.  By 247Sports, he is ranked as the number 19 pro-style quarterback; Rivals has him number 19, and ESPN Recruiting Nation has him number 41 in the country.

Another player who may be in the mix is Travon McMillian, who depending again on which recruiting site you prefer, is either a dual-threat quarterback or athlete. 247Sports lists him as the number 15 dual-threat in the country; Rivals has him listed as number 25 in the nation as an athlete; ESPN has him number 43 in the country as an athlete. It's a pretty safe bet he would be a defensive player, but the coaches are undoubtedly going to give him a shot at quarterbacking.

Prediction

At this stage, it is way too early to tell who is likely to be the starter since the fall camp is in full swing, and Mark Leal is firmly entrenched as the backup to Logan Thomas. However, the most intriguing storyline next spring is watching the battle between Leal, Hodges, Motley, and Ford for the starting and backup job, something we haven't had since maybe 2008.

Leal will be a senior next fall and with only one full season to offer, he may not be a starter. One of the biggest debates right now is whether the coaching staff want to fully trust a true freshman, like Ford for example, in a complicated, pro-style offense that Loeffler is installing. Given that Leal, Motley, and Hodges will have a year/few years advantage over Ford, it is quite possible that Ford ends up getting the redshirt to learn the ropes.

It is also possible that Ford blow everyone away with his football IQ and end up starting as a true freshman. Mark Leal could very well be a shoo-in as a starter though, since he has been with the football team forever and has learned most of the offense under Loeffler. If Hodges ever clear up his mechanics and become a quarterback, Loeffler might use him as a dual-threat quarterback depending on the circumstances.

Each of the quarterbacks bring something unique to the table, and it's up to Loeffler to figure out which one he trusts to run his offense. Only time will tell who the next quarterback for Virginia Tech will be, but it will be here sooner than we know it.

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