Logan Thomas is probably going to go down as one of the best quarterbacks to wear the uniform in Blacksburg. He's not greater than Tyrod Taylor, who is in a class of his own. But as Taylor's backup, Thomas was handed the key to the offense when he left the school to turn pro.
I remember the first time I watch Logan Thomas taking the snap. I attended the annual Maroon and White Spring Game for the first time, and I had some doubt about Logan Thomas ability to be a quarterback. My doubt was based on the fact Thomas only played two seasons as a quarterback during his junior and senior years in high school. He was also originally recruited to be a tight end. I missed that play where Thomas stepped in for Taylor breifly during the away game at Miami when Taylor got shaken up. The play was a 3rd and 16, in which Thomas calmly delivered a 24-yard strike to move the chains for a first down.
Folks told me that Logan Thomas was going to be a stud, that he would surprise many folks, but I had my doubts. So, at the Spring Game, I took my seat in the West Stands, intently watched him on the sideline. His camaraderie with the players, where he was patting players on the butt, chest bumping, high-fiving made my doubt slowly dissipate. After his first snap, his first pass went for an interception, but I didn't blame it on him, the ball was like a bullet from his hand, hitting the receiver in the chest where it bounced off and into the arm of a defensive back. Yet, on the very next possession, Mark Leal tossed an interception, and Logan Thomas was back on the field, where he eventually connected with Marcus Davis on a beautiful 17 yards strike, and my doubt vanished.
And later that year, Thomas put himself down in Virginia Tech lore:
- He engineered one of the most thrilling comeback wins against Miami with The Final Drive.
- Logan Thomas proved how tough he was to take down.
- He once turned a quarterback sneak into a 20 yards rushing touchdown against Georgia Tech.
- He provided some highlight reels of laying down poor defensive backs who stood no chance of stopping him.
The 2011 season will always be remember fondly as the year that the Logan Thomas era was off to a rousing start. He set some Virginia Tech records. He worked in tandem with two of the all-time leading receivers in Tech's history, Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale, and he had ACC Player of the Year (2011) backfield mate in David Wilson. He would have loved to have won the Sugar Bowl, which was decided by a still controversial touchdown overturned by replay review, but the year was one of the best seasons I have witnessed since following Virginia Tech after the Sugar Bowl National Championship game.
The 2012 campaign got off to a rough start. Logan Thomas was faced with the replacement parts on the offensive line, new receivers, new backfield mates, and facing Georgia Tech in the Labor Day game. With 44 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Georgia Tech had Virginia Tech down by a field goal, but Logan Thomas engineered a game-tying drive, and had a hand in forcing the overtime victory over Georgia Tech.
However, Logan Thomas began to struggle with accuracy, missing open receivers with high throws that often were intercepted, and he began to regress somewhat. In spite of it all, he still managed to record 2,783 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, and 528 rushing yards with 9 rushing touchdowns in the regular season.
Rumors and speculation began to flood message boards, Twitter, and internet blogs that somehow Thomas' offseason workout with quarterback guru, George Whitfield, had messed up his mechanics. I think that is completely bogus, as Whitifield has a proven track record of churning out elite quarterbacks, such as Andrew Luck, Big Ben, and Cam Newton. I think the new offensive plays that were installed this past spring have completely changed the dynamics of the offense.
Mel Kiper Jr and Todd McShay both have had high praises of Logan Thomas, having him as a top-10 quarterback on their draft board, before the season progressed, and now they are labeling him as a high-ceiling quarterback project.
This is what McShay had to say about Logan Thomas:
Then there's Thomas from Virginia Tech, who is big, strong, throws a good deep ball and has Ben Roethlisberger-type mobility, but isn't where he needs to be when it comes to reading coverages and displaying consistent accuracy.
Roanoke Times beat writer, Andy Bitter, blogged about McShay's criticism of Virginia Tech's offense in a very unkind way:
This is what Andy wrote:
He saved his most damning statements for the Hokies’ offensive scheme, however, which he said was "out-dated by 10 or 15 years" and could affect Thomas’ preparedness for the next level.
"I do think the best thing that could happen to him, whenever he does come out for the draft, is maybe go a little bit later," McShay said. "Maybe get drafted in the second or third round and not have that pressure to play right away. Because I don’t think he’s going to be ready to start from a consistency standpoint.
"And I think knowing what I know coming out of that program on the offensive side, I don’t think that he’s going to be ready from a mental standpoint. He may be a genius or … I have no idea how smart he is as a player. But he’d have to make such an adjustment from that offense to NFL offenses that no matter how smart you are, it’s going to take a little bit of time."
Comparison of Logan Thomas to Cam Newton is completely baseless and not a very good one. Cam Newton, the quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, is looking like an overrated quarterback. His diva-like behavior is well chronicled in spite of his talents and athleticism. I think Logan Thomas is a much more like Ben Roethlisberger, in term of size, build, and ability to scramble to keep plays alive.
If it were up to me, I would strongly advise him to turn pro. He may actually wow scouts during the NFL Combine, improve his stock considerably, and his character has always been well-documented. Thomas' work ethnic is top notch, excellent attitude, and his laid back personality have helped make him a successful quarterback at Virginia Tech.
Thomas has reportedly submitted paperwork to the Draft Advisory Committee to get some evaluation. I think, as McShay noted, that Thomas has a lot of potential to become a very good NFL quarterback. He fits the prototypical model of an ideal quarterback, he is 6'6", 260 pounds, and he can take a beating since he was worked out as a tight end. I think if he were to go pro, he would be, at best a top 2nd round draft pick, and I think he should be able to sit behind a well-established starter such as Roethlisberger, Josh Freeman, or maybe Aaron Rodgers.
I think Thomas will one day become a starter, and when he does, I hope he will wow a lot of folks the way he did to me when I saw him the Spring Game.