When AJ Bush came out of high school, he wasn’t highly regarded by recruiting sties but that didn’t stop the Georgia recruit from receiving some national offers including one from Nebraska that led him to heading to Lincoln and see if he could become the starting QB for one of the biggest programs in the Big 10. Bush showed some promise but was never able to gain much traction and even Bush told media that he “saw the writing on the wall” in regards to earning playing time and knew he “had to do something different.”
That realization led to Bush leaving Nebraska and transferring to Iowa Western Community College looking to get some playing time and see if he could earn some new opportunities to become a starting quarterback in major college football. For Bush, the move proved to be a humbling one and a different reality than what he had experienced at Nebraska with Bush even saying that it was like high school again having to go buy socks at Dick’s Sporting Goods when asked about getting socks after being out a Nebraska program that definitely is well-funded.
However, while Bush saw his time at JUCO as a “real humbling experience”, he also saw it as a second opportunity and now sees it as a “blessing in disguise” likely in part due to how he now has another opportunity to earn the starting QB job at a major college football program.
Bush didn’t have the most successful JUCO season but he showed that he has plenty of potential to be a starting quarterback at the highest level of college football to coaches across the country.
Looking ahead to the 2017 season, Virginia Tech seemed extremely unlikely to look to add a JUCO quarterback especially with everybody expecting Jerod Evans to be back for his senior season. Instead, Evans shocked everybody and decided to declare for the NFL Draft, opening up the quarterback spot with the Hokies looking to at least add depth with Josh Jackson being set to be the only on-scholarship quarterback this spring.
The Hokies responded with Hendon Hooker deciding to enroll early and then, they went on the hunt for a JUCO QB and set their sights on AJ Bush with Bush receiving some interest from Texas A&M but choosing the Hokies in the end with Bush saying on the Hokies’ recruitment of him that “Virginia Tech came at the right time for sure.”
Now, Bush is looking to follow the footsteps of Jerod Evans and go from the JUCO ranks to being the Hokies’ starting quarterback though Bush didn’t come into this quarterback battle seen as the favorite as Evans was. However, Bush knows that he has a great opportunity in this three-man quarterback competition and is ready to do what it takes to win the job.
AJ Bush knows that he has much more talented playmakers to work with now that he’s with the Hokies with Bush getting plenty of time with those guys including Cam Phillips who he said he’s been throwing with “since he stepped on campus.” Bush will definitely need to work on building chemistry with the Hokies’ receivers while also learning a new offense that may not be that different from his JUCO offense but likely is more detailed and intricate. However, Bush also has better resources and more time with coaches to help learn the playbook, with him not having to think as much and just simply “use my talents.”
Bush does have a lot of work to earn the starting quarterback and while he seems to be having a solid spring from all accounts, what we’ve been hearing suggests that he’s the underdog in this quarterback competition but after a humbling experience at the JUCO level, Bush seems ready to fight for this job and as he has learned the offense more, he has become a bigger challenger for the starting QB job.
Bush also likely knows that he needs to win the starting quarterback job this year if he wants to be the starting quarterback for the Hokies, especially with Josh Jackson and Hendon Hooker both having way more eligibility left than Bush has. However, what Bush has no matter what is a great opportunity to develop as a quarterback with one of the best QB gurus in the country in Justin Fuente.
AJ Bush humbled himself this past year making a career-changing move from one of the Big 10’s biggest football programs at Nebraska to going down to the JUCO level. However, Bush’s “humbling experience” at the JUCO level has proven to be a “blessing in disguise” to give him a second chance at one of the biggest football programs in the ACC.