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Virginia Tech football: 5 days til kickoff with a look back at Tyrod Taylor

Taylor is right behind Michael Vick among top Virginia Tech QBs.

Tyrod Taylor in the 2011 Orange Bowl.
Photo by Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images

Today is August 26, 2019, which means we are only five days away from the Virginia Tech Hokies opening the college football season at Boston College. Yesterday, we profiled Jason Worilds, a two-year starter at defensive end and also a two-time All-ACC performer for the Hokies.

For No. 5, we look back at Tyrod Taylor, arguably the greatest and most successful quarterback in the history of Virginia Tech right behind Michael Vick.

Taylor arrived in Blacksburg back in 2007 from Hampton High School in Hampton, Va. Taylor was a consensus five-star recruit and, per 247Sports, not only the No. 1 player in the state of Virginia, but the No. 17 overall player in the country for the class of 2007. He is one of the few five-star recruits the Hokies have been able to land in the era of the star-ranking system.

In his first season, Sean Glennon was the quarterback for the Hokies. However, a redshirt was not on the table for Taylor. Frank Beamer wanted to play him—and did. The Hokies started the 2007 season with an easy win over East Carolina. In Week 2, things would get much tougher, though. The Hokies traveled to Baton Rouge to play a loaded LSU team. Glennon struggled early and Beamer inserted Taylor into the lineup. He inevitably struggled, yet showed some signs of brilliance, rushing for 44 yards and a touchdown, while also completing seven of 18 passes.

Taylor’s insertion into the lineup would become permanent, as he started the next week in a blowout win over Ohio. Taylor completed 18 of 31 passes, for 287 yards, while also scoring on a rushing touchdown. While Taylor had some tremendous performances that season, the team would need both he and Glennon that season. In an October game against Duke, Taylor suffered the dreaded high-ankle sprain which would cost him two games and Glennon moved back into the starting lineup.

Overall that season, Taylor played in 11 games, making five starts, completing 54 percent of his passes for 927 yards and five touchdowns. He would also rush for 429 yards and six scores, which were both second on the team behind Branden Ore.

In 2008, Glennon returned and the Hokies actually wanted to redshirt Taylor. However, the offense struggled and Taylor finally played. He played in 12 games, making 10 starts, however, he completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,036 yards, two touchdowns and seven interceptions. The rotating clearly affected Taylor and Glennon, as both players struggled at times. Taylor did finish second on the team with 738 rushing yards and seven scores. He was named the MVP of the ACC Championship game and also led the Hokies to an Orange Bowl win over Cincinnati. The arrow was clearly pointing up for Taylor after his final two performances. He was MVP of the Orange Bowl.

As a junior in 2009, Taylor started all 13 games for the Hokies. He completed 56 percent of his passes for 2,311 yards, 13 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He also finished second on the team in rushing and scored five times on the ground. Taylor’s epic comeback against Nebraska in Lane Stadium was a thing of beauty and still has folks talking about that game. Taylor also led the Hokies to a decisive 37-14 win over Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

As a senior in 2010, Taylor started all 14 games for the Hokies, completing 60 percent of his passes for 2,743 yards, 24 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He also finished second on the team with 659 rushing yards and five additional scores. Taylor’s 2010 season was as good as any single-season performance from a Virginia Tech QB other than Michael Vick’s 1999 season.

In that 2010 season, the Hokies finished undefeated in ACC play, defeated Florida State in the ACC Championship game but fell to Stanford and Andrew Luck in the Orange Bowl. Taylor was first-team All-ACC, ACC Player of the Year and MVP of the ACC Championship game for the second time.

For his career, Taylor finished with a record of 34-8 and won two ACC titles. He finished his career as the winningest quarterback in Virginia Tech history.

Taylor was a fifth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2011 NFL Draft. He won a Super Bowl ring as the backup to Joe Flacco in Super Bowl XLVII. After four years with the Ravens, he signed with the Buffalo Bills where he spent three seasons. He made the Pro Bowl in 2015 and in 2017 led the Bills to their first playoff berth since 1999. He was traded to Cleveland in 2018 and is now with the Los Angeles Chargers as a backup to Philip Rivers.

Taylor will someday soon have his place in the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame. He had an outstanding college career and truly made those around him better. Taylor still comes back to Blacksburg as often as possible and has carved out a nice NFL career.