The first spring football of the Justin Fuente era is four practices in with the Virginia Tech Hokies having multiple position battles. However, there is none bigger than the one at the quarterback position with Fuente declaring the battle open to all five quarterbacks on the roster to see who will replace Michael Brewer under center.
Even with the Hokies saying the quarterback battle is open for all five quarterbacks, only three are in the main contention to earn the starting job. With that said, here’s our look at our early odds on the quarterback battle.
Joshua Jackson and Jack Click: <1% Chance
Joshua Jackson enrolled early for the Hokies to get a head start on learning the offense which will be valuable down the road, but this is not Jackson’s time yet. However, Jackson has a bright future in Blacksburg and will have plenty of time to be groomed by Justin Fuente for his time under center in Blacksburg. Jack Click is a great quarterback to have in the locker room working with and pushing the other guys while also providing quality depth that will let Jackson redshirt.
Brenden Motley: 15%
Brenden Motley is the only quarterback that has made a start in his collegiate career, but he is also the quarterback that has the least upside of the main trio battling for the starting job. Motley didn’t perform that badly in his brief stint as quarterback while Michael Brewer was injured, but Motley did throw some costly interceptions that forced Brewer back against Miami.
Motley’s experience, even with their being a new offense, does give him an edge but the new offense also minimizes that edge for Motley. Motley does have good mobility and can make plays on the run, but Motley has an average arm along with solid accuracy, and could definitely be a solid ACC starting QB for a full season.
However, Motley doesn’t have the same ceiling as the other top two quarterbacks in this battle along with being the one senior. Early on in his time at Memphis, Justin Fuente was willing to bench a senior for a freshman in Paxton Lynch and even though Lynch did have some struggles, Fuente stuck with him over the senior and it paid off. Fuente may take the same approach with Jerod Evans and Dwayne Lawson who have a higher ceiling than Motley.
Motley does have a shot at the job, but his chances don’t seem that good right now.
Dwayne Lawson: 25%
Many thought that Dwayne Lawson’s time might begin with the 2016 season, but the arrival of Jerod Evans has put that in serious jeopardy. Lawson has all the athletic talent that any coach would want as a quarterback with a big arm, great size, and the ability to make big plays through the air or with his legs.
However, Lawson has had some issues in the past with learning the playbook and that could be something that puts him behind Evans and Motley with Justin Fuente’s offense. If Lawson can get a strong grasp of the playbook quickly, then the sophomore quarterback’s chances definitely improve.
Lawson is also still a fairly raw quarterback and probably has the most developing of the top trio of quarterbacks. The ceiling is huge for Lawson, but he still is not the best quarterback on the roster talent-wise after the addition of top JUCO QB Jerod Evans.
Dwayne Lawson’s time as the starting quarterback could definitely be this year as Justin Fuente probably knows that Lawson has the type of talent that any offensive coach would want. However, Lawson’s time may not be this year after the addition of Evans.
Jerod Evans: 60%
Jerod Evans was seen as the top JUCO quarterback with one opposing coach in Evans’s JUCO league calling Evans the best player he had seen in that league since Cam Newton. Evans came to Blacksburg knowing that he had the chance to work with Justin Fuente and have a great shot at being the starting quarterback immediately.
From what we’ve heard, no one has emerged yet from the pack in this quarterback battle, but Evans is the most talented and developed of the trio of quarterbacks. Evans has the big arm and mobility along with being more polished and having more size on him which should help with his durability as a mobile quarterback that can make plays from the pocket or on the run.
However, the fact that Evans hasn’t separated himself just yet is why we only have him at 60% at this point. In my book, Evans is the big favorite but there are still a lot of unknowns especially since spring has just started and Evans has to learn the playbook just like everyone else.
Right now, Jerod Evans is the favorite to be taking snaps under center, and has the talent to be the best quarterback the Hokies have had since Tyrod Taylor potentially. However, Evans has some tough competition, but him, Lawson, and Motley will all have a chance to make their move with closed scrimmages today and on Saturday.