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Virginia Tech football: 12 days til kickoff with a look back at Maurice DeShazo

DeShazo was Tech’s first star quarterback when the current bowl streak began.

MAURICE DESHAZO
Maurice DeShazo

Today is August 19, 2019, which means we are officially just 12 days away from the Virginia Tech Hokies opening the college football season at Boston College. Two weeks from now, we will be discussing what went right (hopefully) or wrong in the season opener against the Eagles.

So, in accordance with our countdown, today we profile No. 12, former quarterback Maurice DeShazo. DeShazo arrived at Virginia Tech as a member of the class of 1990. A four-star recruit from nearby Bassett High in Bassett, Va., DeShazo was ranked as the No. 3 player in the state of Virginia that year and was also a high-school All-American in Tom Lemming’s rankings.

DeShazo redshirted in 1990 as Will Furrer was still under center for the Hokies. Furrer returned for his senior season in 1991 with Rodd Wooten as his backup. Head coach Frank Beamer did manage to get his future QB some action that season as DeShazo appeared in five games, completing three of four passes for 26 yards. DeShazo did show Hokie fans what he could do with his legs in his brief action, carrying the ball 15 times for 111 yards, averaging over seven yards per attempt.

Furrer and Wooten were gone in 1992, meaning it was DeShazo’s team. It was a tough year for the Hokies and Beamer, as Tech finished the season 2-8-1, but players like DeShazo, Antonio Freeman and Dwayne Thomas showed the Hokies had some young building blocks for the future. DeShazo played in every game, making 10 starts. He completed 101 of 215 attempts, which was just 47 percent, for 1,504 yards, 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. DeShazo also rushed for 206 yards and two touchdowns.

The 1993 season is remembered for the season that turned around Virginia Tech football forever. While it did not put the Hokies on the national radar, the 1993 team went 9-3 and won the Independence Bowl and have been to a bowl game in every season since. DeShazo was a major reason why. In his second season as a starter, DeShazo started every game, completed 129 of his 230 attempts at a clip of 56 percent for 2,080 yards, 22 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. DeShazo also rushed for over 300 yards, but sacks reduced that total to 111. He accounted for three more scores on the ground.

DeShazo was an All-Big East performer in 1993 and led the league in passing efficiency.

In his final season of 1994, DeShazo’s numbers took a bit of a hit. However, he was still an excellent signal-caller for the Hokies, starting every game under center. He completed 56 percent of his passes for 2,110 yards, 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. DeShazo’s numbers likely took a hit due to the change in offensive philosophy as it was the first year for Gary Tranquill as offensive coordinator for the Hokies. It would end up being his only season as offensive coordinator. Despite some of his numbers dropping, it was still a good season for Virginia Tech, though, as the Hokies went 9-3 and made it to the Gator Bowl only to lose to the Tennessee Volunteers and a freshman quarterback named Peyton Manning.

DeShazo is an essential figure in the past 26 years at Virginia Tech. People will mostly remember Michael Vick, Bryan Randall, Logan Thomas or even Jim Druckenmiller, however, DeShazo isn’t a name that comes up often. He should be. That 1993 team was special on both sides of the ball and DeShazo made it go.

For all of his accomplishments, DeShazo took his rightful place in the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. He, along with Cornell Brown, was also instrumental in the Hokies keeping the top players in the state of Virginia home.