Before the season began, the biggest question surrounding the Virginia Tech Hokies was who was going to start at quarterback?
Three players were in the running: senior Brenden Motley, junior-college transfer Jerod Evans and true freshman Joshua Jackson. Throughout fall camp, head coach Justin Fuente insisted this race was close and it appeared to be a two-way battle between Evans and Jackson.
Well, Evans eventually won out, but Virginia Tech fans weren’t entirely sold on Evans. Many fans were excited about the potential of Jackson.
Now, Hokie faithful couldn’t be more thrilled with Evans.
A 6’4”, 230-pounder from Mansfield, Tx., Evans was the nation’s top-ranked JUCO passer, according to 247Sports, in last year’s recruiting cycle. In 2015, Evans passed for over 3,000 yards, averaged 11 yards per attempt and tossed 38 touchdowns. Amazingly, Evans had only three interceptions and was not sacked once.
So far in 2016, Evans is off to a sizzling start. In four games, the junior quarterback is completing 67 percent of his passes for 964 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has just one interception and it came off a tipped pass. Evans is also second on the team in rushing with 209 yards. His 55-yard touchdown run against East Carolina last weekend was a thing of beauty.
Can Evans maintain this pace?
Well, that’s to be determined. The schedule gets tougher, beginning with next week’s contest at defending ACC Coastal Division champion North Carolina.
While the Tar Heels won’t remind anyone of the 1985 Chicago Bears on defense, it will be a true test for Evans and the Hokies.
After the game at Carolina, the Hokies head to Syracuse before returning to Blacksburg to host Miami on a Thursday night. We will likely know a lot more about Evans after that Hokies’ 12-day stretch against three ACC foes, two of which are on the road.
In the meantime, Evans is No. 4 in the nation in passing efficiency. He’s ahead of more acclaimed passers such as Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, J.T. Barrett, Brad Kaaya and Chad Kelly.
ESPN’s David Hale pointed out a unique stat that puts Evans is some pretty exclusive company. Evans is currently the only quarterback in the country with 13 touchdowns and no more than interception. In the past decade, only 12 other quarterbacks have done that in the season’s first four games. The list includes a pair of former Heisman winners, three first-round picks and nine players who’ve played in the NFL.
Virginia Tech's Jerod Evans is the only QB in the country w/13+ touchdown passes and no more than one... https://t.co/cV109Dtqsd— David Hale (@DavidHaleESPN) September 25, 2016
It’s tough to believe Evans’ start is an anomaly.
Earlier this week, Evans was named one of the Manning Award ‘Stars of the Week.’ You can vote for him here.
While he is off to a blazing start, Evans knows he’s far from perfect. After Saturday’s win over ECU, Evans told reporters one part of his game needed work, according to Andy Bitter of the Roanoke Times.
“Personally, I need to work on completing the freaking ball down the field," Evans said.
That’s how great quarterbacks think. There is always something to improve upon. That type of outlook will keep Evans from being completely happy with his play, and that’s a good thing for Virginia Tech.