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Virginia Tech football: 16 days til kickoff with a look back at Jim Druckenmiller

Druckenmiller was outstanding in 1995 & 1996.

Virginia Tech V Nebraska
Former Virginia Tech QB Jim Druckenmiller in action vs. Nebraska in the 1996 Orange Bowl

Today is August 15, 2019, which means we are officially just 16 days away from the Virginia Tech Hokies opening the college football season at Boston College. Yesterday, for No. 17, we profiled three former Hokies who were not only outstanding college players, but NFL players as well in Shayne Graham, Kyle Fuller and Kam Chancellor.

For No. 16, we profile former quarterback Jim Druckenmiller, Virginia Tech’s starting quarterback in 1995 & 1996. Druckenmiller arrived in Blacksburg back in 1993 after playing his high school football at Northampton Area High School in Pennsylvania and one year of prep school at Fork Union, where he caught the eye of Frank Beamer.

As a freshman in 1993, Druckenmiller was the backup for Maurice DeShazo. This, of course, was the Virginia Tech team that started the current bowl streak. Druckenmiller played mostly in garbage time, playing in a total of six games, where he completed 10 of 18 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns. The Hokies were 9-3 and won the Independence Bowl.

DeShazo returned in 1994 with Druckenmiller once again serving as his backup. Druckenmiller played in five games, completing 10 of 20 passes for 75 and a touchdown. Tech went 8-4 that season, losing to Tennessee and Peyton Manning in the Gator Bowl.

DeShazo graduated and Druckenmiller finally had his shot to lead the Hokies. And 1995 was a special season. We know all about how good that 1995 defense was, but Druckenmiller led an underrated and balanced offense to a Big East title and a 10-2 record. The Hokies finished that season ranked No. 6 in the country after destroying Texas in the Sugar Bowl. For the season, Druckenmiller started every game, completed 151 of his 192 attempts for 2,103 yards, 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Druckenmiller’s stats did not tell the entire story of how good he was in 1995.

Druckenmiller returned for his senior season in 1996. He was even better than the previous year. He completed 57 percent of his passes for 2,071 yards with 17 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Not known for his athleticism, Druckenmiller also rushed for over 200 yards. The Hokies again finished 10-2 and were ranked No. 8 in the final polls after an Orange Bowl loss to Nebraska. He was an All-Big East selection at quarterback.

Druckenmiller had his sights set on the NFL and was surprisingly picked in the first round of the 1997 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers envisioned Druckenmiller being the successor to Steve Young. Well, it wasn’t an ideal match and Druckenmiller struggled badly in San Francisco’s West-Coast offense. He was released after two years and spent the 1999 season with the Miami Dolphins.

Druckenmiller would play the 2001 season for the Memphis Maniax in the XFL. He received one more NFL tryout with the Indianapolis Colts in 2003, but didn’t make the team and his career was over.

After his career, Druckenmiller retired to the Memphis area, where he’s currently an area sales manager for AS Barboro, a position which he’s held for over seven years.

Druckenmiller had a great career for the Hokies and was instrumental in the success of those first two 10-win seasons of the Beamer era.