However, the Hokies now have to replace Jerod Evans, who was fantastic in his lone year at Virginia Tech. Let’s take a look at the battle to replace him.
Virginia Week 1 QB Starting Odds at BookMaker
Josh Jackson ( -140 ) – Jackson is considered the favorite to win the job after redshirting last season. Fuente noted that he was in competition for the starting job during summer practice last season, but eventually gave way to Jerod Evans and Brandon Motley.
The fact that Jackson was in the hunt to start as a true freshman last season shows what type of player he is. Jackson was one of Fuente’s first recruits and the former Memphis head coach was able to get him to commit to Virginia Tech despite playing in Jim Harbaugh’s backyard in Ann Arbor.
He doesn’t have the size and the power that Fuente seems to prefer from the quarterback position, so that could hurt him if the battle is close. Jackson is 6’1 and 215 pounds and while that’s not small, he’s certainly not as big as Evans and Paxton Lynch were.
Jackson’s big advantage is that he has the most experience in this offense heading into the season. He was an early-entry recruit in 2016 and has spent a full year and a half learning Fuente’s scheme. Although he has yet to see the field in a college game, he knows what Fuente expects out of the position more than Hendon Hooker or A.J. Bush do.
Hendon Hooker ( +300 ) –Hooker has bulked up significantly since arriving on campus and is striving to be the big, powerful quarterback that Fuente desires. When he committed, he was listed at 190 pounds and he is already listed at 216 pounds. He committed to Virginia Tech not long after Fuente arrived in Blacksburg and didn’t play any games with his recruitment.
Looking to win the job immediately, Hooker enrolled in spring and was taking repetitions with the team throughout spring practice. He was a four-star recruit out of high school and is expected to be the quarterback of the future.
The coaching staff has given him high praise. After he went 10-11 for 113 yards and a touchdown in the spring game, offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen said that Hooker had one of the best pure releases he has ever seen.
A.J. Bush ( +350 ) –Bush is seen as a contender for the job, but it wouldn’t make sense for Fuente to select him as the starter unless he tears it up in summer practice.
Unlike the other two options, Bush only has two years of eligibility remaining. Although he was a highly-rated recruit coming out of high school, he didn’t see any action during two seasons at Nebraska and dropped down to the JUCO level in order to get on the field last season.
His performance at Iowa Western wasn’t very convincing. Bush completed just 45.6 percent of his passes last season and threw just three touchdowns compared to eight interceptions.
Yes, he has the measurables that Fuente likes, checking in at 6’4 and 225 pounds. However, he wasn’t that productive of a runner either. Bush averaged just three yards a carry and put the ball on the ground way too often as well. He fumbled eight times on 95 carries last season and was such a turnover machine that he ended up getting benched. With a season like that, it’s puzzling to see people think he has a legitimate chance for the job.
QB Battle Prediction
It’s going to be either Jackson or Hooker. It doesn’t make any sense to play Bush and having him at these odds is such a mystery. Fortunately for the bettor, it does make for a better price on the other two.
Paxton Lynch sat the bench his first season in Memphis and he turned out to be a first-round pick in the NFL Draft. Even though Hooker has been impressive for a kid fresh out of high school, this is going to be Jackson’s job to lose. As long as he is relatively decent when the Hokies start practicing again, he will be the starter.
Bet on current QB Match Up odds at BookMaker