Editors Note: This was an epic endeavor undertaken by Brian. Enjoy. --Joe
So it's summer. Summer is boring, not a lot for me to talk or write about. You see though, there's a breaking point during the summer when the boredom of being at home/job/internship/whatever becomes greater than the boredom of not having anything to write about.
Well...ladies and gentlemen...I'm here.
What should I write about? Hard news? I'm not credentialed. Insider updates? You see...I don't have many of those people around the team...what're they called again? Oh yeah, SOURCES. Don't really have many of those...and if I did they probably wouldn't have much to say... It's July.
A campy top-10 opinion piece that can possibly stir the pot for a day or two even though there is nothing really of substance in it?
DING DING DING DING DING!
Yep, we have a winner. All of this talk about Logan Thomas' potential greatness and what he means to this team got me thinking...how do the last ten Hokie quarterbacks stack up?
And by stack up, I don't just mean statistically. I'm talking legacy. Leadership. Wins and losses. Amount of success in accordance to the talent around him. All of this should all be factored while comparing two guys from two different eras.
Well anyway, with a major assist from my friend Bobby (who threw up some mad Excel equations for this piece), we took a look at the last 10 starting quarterbacks (pour one out for Nick Sorenson and Cory Holt) and how they ranked in the following categories:
At the end of the day, wins and losses are what matter most. The benchmark is Michael Vick, who went a modest 22-1.5 as a starter (even though he started the first few series against Miami in 2000, his ankle was so badly sprained that it shouldn't count).
- Overall W/L Record: Explained above.
- Play in "Big Games": Big games are defined as any bowl game, conference championship game, non-conference opponent in the top 25, conference opponents in the top 15 and games against UVA.) For instance, Grant Noll's 4-20, 4 INT performance against Miami is a negative.
- Surrounding talent on defense: The thinking here is that it's easier to win games if your defense is a machine built to kill and causes 40,320 turnovers in a year. (looking at you, Mr. Glennon).
When the memory of a player fades, and new students cycle through, stats are usually how a player is judged. Whether it's fair or not is a different argument for a different time. So looking purely at numbers, we broke down productivity in these subcategories:
- Statistics: Pure, unadulterated numbers. TDs, INTs, yards, completion percentage...you know the deal.
- Surrounding talent on offense: Similar to the thinking of defensive talent, only surrounding talent on offense has a direct impact on your stats. If you have better talent, you should put up better numbers. For instance, if you put up pedestrian statistics with 5 NFL receivers...it'll probably work against you. But also, if you were a Heisman finalist with Andre Davis, a bunch of 2-stars that never panned out, and a guy named Slowkowski...I mean, we had to take that into consideration.
I know this whole thing is called a "Legacy Rater" and this category is poorly titled, but you have to take into consideration the impact a quarterback had on the school. The problem with this category, however, is that it is also the most subjective. We decided to break it down into the fairest way possible:
- Hardware: If you stop and think about it, all of the things that a quarterback wins, from conference championship trophies to national award finalists and significant Hokie passing records, all have an impact on how the university is thought of on a national scale.
- Impact: How did this quarterback leave his mark in Blacksburg? Did he even leave one? Was he beloved by the fans, or reviled? Did he happen to increase university applications by (roughly) 35%? Did he single-handedly increase the revenue stream at TOTs by drinking there every weekend? All factors.
And so we then weighted the categories as such:
Head hurt yet? Yeah it's cool, mine too. You should have seen me trying to do things like division and addition when adding things up. Math is hard.
Well without further ado...let's see how this thing shook out.
10. Grant Noel, starting QB 2001
Noel sets the standard for "mehhhhhh". Let's look at how his categories broke down:
Noel went 8-4 in his lone year as a starter, the worst winning percentage of any quarterback on this list. He started 6-0 against weak competition (he did beat West Virginia though...that always means something), and then lost 4 of his last 6.
In his "big games", he threw for 3 scores against UVA in a win, but then followed that up with this stat line against #1 Miami (who went on to play for the title):
4-16, 81 yards, 0 TDs, 4 INTs.
Feel free to read that again (give you a minute)....yeah. That's a real stat line. The craziest part? They were an Ernest Wilford dropped two-point conversion away from a tied game late!
Anyway, I digress...his defense was also 3rd in the nation in points allowed per game (although they were also helped by a weak schedule). But that still doesn't help his case.
Overall Performance—3, Big Games—1, Defensive Talent—9
I mean...16 TDs, 11 picks, 1826 yards, 57.5 completion %. Not bad, I suppose...but those interceptions are brutal. Fourth in the Big East in scores and yards, second in interceptions.
He had Andre Davis, whose numbers went down precipitously post-Vick, and also a freshman phenom named Kevin Jones. After that though, his weapons were decent but not spectacular. It also hurts that he only started one year, being beat out for a job by Bryan Randall during his senior campaign.
Statistics—3.5, Offensive Talent—5
He lost his lone bowl game, won no awards and didn't win the Big East. Being sandwiched between Michael Vick and Bryan Randall makes Noel the forgotten quarterback.
FINAL LEGACY RATING: 2.65
9. Al Clark starting QB 1997-1998
Also known as the guy in between Jim Druckenmiller and Michael Vick, Clark did some things but never set Blacksburg on fire.
Good ol' Al started 19 out of a possible 24 games (including bowls). The Hokies went a combined 16-8 during his two years as a starter, but were primarily defined by the losses that happened during that stretch.
Let's see...there was the 42-3 shellacking shelled out by Carolina in the '97 Gator Bowl, the loss to Temple in '98 (which he was injured for), losing at the last second to Donovan McNabb and Syracuse (where he threw for 35 yards...THIRTY-FREAKING-FIVE), and losing to Virginia twice.
For the record, the two games that I attended in 1998 were Temple and UVA. I'm surprised they let me back in Lane Stadium as I was the unluckiest 8-year-old of all time.
There were some good wins scattered in there; a win over McNabb at Lane, two wins over Miami, but not much else.
And also, when Clark was bad, he was BAD. Pick six in the collapse against Virginia, 66 yards against Carolina...you get the picture. Had an average (using Bud Foster metrics) defense in '97, and a killer one in '98.
Overall Performance—4, Big Games—2, Defensive Talent—5
A little over 2,500 yards (meh), 19 touchdowns (meh), 8 picks (solid), 52% completion rate (oooooh, so that's why he didn't throw that many picks, he couldn't hit guys on either team!)
He also had 6 rushing scores, which helps his case a little bit...but his running also majorly contributed to him missing games...five in case you forgot, including four in '98.
He just didn't really produce that much, but he didn't have great talent around him either...so at least that won't hurt him? (Though he had a YOUNG Andre Davis, and Ken Oxendine, Marcus Parker, Jarrett Ferguson and Shawn Scales all had cups of coffee with NFL teams).
Statistics—2.5, Offensive Talent—2
He won a bowl game (Music City Bowl against Alabama)...that's about the only thing that separates him and Noel. Like Noel, however, Clark shows how tough it is to be sandwiched by two great Tech quarterbacks
FINAL LEGACY RATING: 3.66
8. Maurice DeShazo, starting quarterback 1992-1994
The man on the teams that started it all. DeShazo started the first two years of the current bowl streak, and helped to begin the change in national opinion from Virginia Tech as a laughing stock to Virginia Tech as a major player in D1 football.
DeShazo's record of 19-15-1 looks less than stellar, but you have to look at it in context . DeShazo went 2-8-1 as a sophomore (hey remember when college football didn't use overtime? Yeah me neither, I was 2 when that happened)...but he also was a young player on a young team formerly ravaged by NCAA sanctions.
In '93 Tech went 9-3, and picked up a win against (23rd ranked) Virginia, and beat a ranked Indiana team in the Independence Bowl, Tech's first bowl win since 1986. In '94 they went 8-4, but lost three of their last four (to Miami, Virginia and Tennessee in the Gator Bowl).
Solid, an especially nice two years after a team goes 2-8-1...but it's still just above average in comparison to everyone else on this list.
In term of big games...it's not great. From what the box scores say, DeShazo had a tendency to...take a break....in the fourth quarter. In his two years as a starter Tech was outscored 179-137 in the fourth quarter. They also went 2-4 against teams ranked in the top-25, 0-3 against teams in the top 16.
His defense was good, but not great. Giving up an average of 21 points per game and a few years away from being the foaming at the mouth defense Blacksburg is used to.
Overall Performance—5, Big Games—2, Defensive Talent—4
2,080 yards, 22 TDs and 7 INTs, 56% completions in '93, 2,250 yards, 13 TDs and 15 INTs, 55% completions in '94.
That's a stark difference...I mean wow. Granted, he threw the ball 100 times more in '94 than he did in '93, but it's still never good when you throw more picks than scores. That '93 campaign is hard to ignore though...22 TDs on 230 attempts is simply insane. It's the antithesis of a Glennon stat line.
In terms of surrounding talent, he didn't have receivers that were too shabby. Antonio Freeman anyone? Bryan Still was a first round pick. Dwayne Thomas is the 7th leading rusher in Tech history. There are probably a few guys on this list that would have with traded him.
Statistics—6, Offensive Talent—6
An Independence Bowl trophy is DeShazo's biggest accomplishment...you know, other than being Tech's fifth all time leading in passing yards, and 2nd all time in touchdowns. That's not too bad.
Impact? It's hard to judge, because he's been gone for so long, but he did leave the school as the leader in both total yards and passing touchdowns. He also was the quarterback that started the new era of Hokie football..which has to count for something.
FINAL LEGACY RATING-4.40
7. Marcus Vick-starting QB 2005 (plus a cameo in 2003)
Oooohhhh Marcus. What can I say that hasn't been said already? I honestly think he could have been the best quarterback on this list....but we all know the story. Let's just get into it, before we all start reminiscing and need to start drinking.
Vick went 11-2 in his lone season as a starter. On the surface, that looks awesome, but it is still only one season. In that season, Tech started 8-0 while giving up...wait for it....NINE POINTS PER GAME. That's insane right? Anyway, they were undefeated and third in the nation going into a College Gameday appearance against #5 Miami IN BLACKSBURG. Marcus put up the following stat line:
8-22, 90 yards, 0 TDs 2 INTs. 17 carries, 7 yards, 1 TD....FOUR F-ING FUMBLES.
Needless to say, they lost 27-7.
He had a very....headlining....experience in big games. He had the Miami debacle (which was not all his fault, I'll be the first to say, but I'll say again....four fumbles), he nearly brought Tech back against a much worse Florida State team in the 4th quarter of the ACC Championship Game (335 yards and 3 total scores), and the Dummerville leg stomp in the Gator Bowl.
Sure, he beat UVA (with two running backs going for over 100), #15 Georgia Tech (helped by 3 non-offensive touchdowns) and #13 Boston College by a combined score of 133-31, but it's hard to overlook that Miami/Louisville combo.
Overall Performance—7, Big Games—4, Defensive Talent—9
One year, almost 2,400 yards, 17 TDs, 10 INTs, 61% completion percentage and also 6 rushing scores. He also went for 2 scores and 5 picks when Frank and Steiny thought he was better than Randall in 2003 (not to even mention 4 catches for 82 yards and a score in the Insight.com bowl!)
He could have put up record book statistics...you know if he wasn't suspended for the entire 2004 season and kicked off the team after the Gator Bowl.
In terms of the numbers he put up in accordance to the talent around him...he had Jeff King (one of my favorite all-time Hokies), and a bunch of freshman receivers who would eventually be good...but they were still all freshman. Oh, and his running backs were Cedric Humes, Brandon Ore and Mike Imoh. A hell of a backfield if you're looking to throw a party....not one if you want consistent production.
Statistics—5.5, Offensive Talent—5
Well in terms of hardware Marcus has a Gator Bowl trophy (where he earned the golden boot!! AY OH, soccer joke! Get it? Anyone? ....Hello?), a first team all-ACC spot, and the Jim Druckenmiller award for most rails consumed by a Hokie football player (I kid...kind of).
In terms of impact? I like to explain the Marcus Vick era in terms of a Thanksgiving dinner. You walk in to Marcus' house, and he has everything on the table, turkey, killer mashed potatoes, awesome pie...whatever you like on Thanksgiving, he has on his table. And then he punches you in the face, knocks you out and drops you off at a McDonalds in rural West Virginia, leaving you with a bad taste in your mouth and no idea how you got there.
Suspended for a game in 2003, all of 2004 and kicked off the team after a promising 2005, leaving us with a redshirt sophomore quarterback named Glennon to take the reins. He probably gave Tech the best chance to make noise nationally since Michael...and instead he pissed it away.
Someone pour me bourbon.
FINAL LEGACY RATING: 4.75
6. Sean Glennon-Starting QB 2006, kind of starting QB 2007, not really starting QB 2008
Oooooooh Mr. Glennon, hello...it has been too long. How I have missed your 9 seconds in the pocket before getting sacked. Your look on the sideline post-interception? Pure Eli Manning-ian. In all seriousness, Glennon had the most difficult career to rank for a variety of reasons.
It's already getting complicated. How do you determine Tech's record under Glennon? Obviously, the 10-3 in 2006 was all him, but he split time with Tyrod Taylor for the rest of his career.
All of the haters say that he doesn't deserve a win after '06 (but coincidentally every single loss between 2006 and 2011...even though his career ended in '08). In my opinion, the two signal callers' careers were intertwined. You can't credit a win for Tyrod without also crediting it to Glennon, and a loss to Glennon without also giving it to Tyrod.
With that in mind, Glennon's official record as a Hokie quarterback is 31-10. 10 wins every year as a starter (or "starter")...I mean that's really damn good.
But, there's that whole "big game" thing to consider. Before we dip into the bad...and there was plenty of that...let's look at where he stepped up:
Killed it against (#14) Wake in '06, winning the ACC against Virginia and BC in '07 and against Maryland on a Thursday night in '08 (not to mention would have been a big reason for beating BC in '07...enough said).
Now on to the bad..there's the debacle against Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl (you know, just a casual 3 interception second half). And getting eaten alive by LSU (going 2-10 in the process). Choking to Kansas in the Orange Bowl. Not to mention losing to ECU to start the '08 season.
The good is pretty damn good. The bad? Well, the bad kind of feels like a Marcus Vick stomp..but to the face.
And it's not like his defense wasn't good...I mean for the love of god, in his first two years those guys were so nasty that they would have tackled Bambi.
Overall Performance—7, Big Games—5, Defensive Talent—8.5
Over 4,800 yards, 28 touchdowns.....and 21 picks. Ouch. But half of those are from one 2006 (where he threw 11). In 2007? 12 scores and 5 picks. I mean...that's really freaking good! (It's a lot better than Tyrod's 2 and 7...we'll get into that though).
He did have a tendency to throw bad picks. I know that all picks are bad...but a lot of his were BAD. Like, he tried to throw a pass out of a sack with his left hand bad, and that can't go unnoticed. He also had some great weapons in '06 and '07 (Royal, Morgan, Harper, Clowney, Hyman, etc...), and then a bunch of freshman in '08 (two random guys named Coale and Boykin).
Statistics—4 (too many picks, bro) Offensive Talent—6
This is where he's docked a lot of points. He has an Orange Bowl trophy (albeit he didn't play in it...), 2 ACC titles and is 6th in passing yards. At another time, or at another school...that would be enough. But then there is the other side.
Glennon was hated...I mean HATED by the student body. It could be because he was a d-bag to everyone he met off the field (or maybe he was a d-bag because he was booed for two years?), or it could be because he happened to be competing with one of the most beloved people in Blacksburg history (Tyrod's probably ahead of the guy who founded TOTS, but behind Bud Foster).
It seemed like he was always about 2 incompletions in a row from being booed and then pulled...because he was. He probably made a miserably bad, no-win situation worse, but at the end of the day I believe that he irrevocably killed the possibility of another pure pocket-passer starting during the Beamer era.
FINAL LEGACY RATING: 4.65
5. Logan Thomas-Starting QB, 2011-present
If Glennon was the most difficult to rank, Thomas comes in at a close second. He only has one year under his belt, but still majorly differs from the two other guys that where that was the case (Noel and Marcus).
Well, 11-3 is good. Sure, he was helped by a schedule that featured a non-conference matchup with Arkansas State, but you can still say without a shadow of a doubt that he had a successful first season. Somehow, I had completely forgotten that he lead the team to seven consecutive wins between the Clemson games...I mean any time you can get a team to be ranked 5th in the nation is pretty damn good.
He does get a few points off in the "big games" category, mainly because he didn't play in that many of them. Two games against Clemson where he went a combined 37-71 (52%) for 399 yards, 1 TD and 3 INTs. Was good against Michigan in New Orleans: 214 yards, 1 INT, 1 rushing touchdown, one game winning pass to Danny Coale in the back of the endzone (we'll always have that win in my head, LT...always).
Other than those three games, he didn't play anyone in the top 15. He came up somewhere between big and monolithic in games that Tech needed (Wake Forest, MIAMI), and was a big factor in reminding Mike London that there will always be open jobs in Richmond law enforcement if needed...but they still weren't on the biggest of big stages.
(For the record, I want to submit for review the proposal that any time anyone writes about LT3 going HAM against Miami they must write "LT3's MIAMI GAME", just like that. That performance deserves all-caps, all the time.)
His defense was solid (7th in the nation in ppg/allowed), but when they did falter it usually seemed like Thomas was there to help them out (see, LT3's MIAMI GAME).
Overall Performance—7, Big Games—2, Defensive Talent—6.5
3,013 yards on 60% passing, 19 scores and 10 picks. Oh, and also ELEVEN rushing touchdowns...bro was a battering ram in the red zone. In fact, he was first on the team and third in the ACC in rushing scores.
The picks are a little concerning, but when you consider that he had five in his first five games, and then five in his last nine (including a streak of just two over seven games) it makes you feel a little more comfortable with his progression.
His numbers were helped by having Tech's two all-time leading receivers and a running back that ran for the most yards in a single-season in Tech history, but at the end of the day the offense still revolved (or I should say revolves) around him.
Statistics—7.5, Offensive Talent—9
What hurts him here is that he doesn't have a lot of hardware. Bowl loss (don't get me started again), ACC CG loss...but he does have the single-season record for total touchdowns. And the love and passion of Mel Kiper Jr., which I suppose should be in the impact section, but I'm holding out hope that he sends little golden Mel's to the guys on his top-10 draft prospects list.
He's also getting some love nationally, and is a dark horse Heisman hopeful. ESPN loves them some Cam Newton comparisons.
FINAL LEGACY RATING-5.00 (how high up can he be on this list? He could get to number two with an even better 2012).
4. Bryan Randall-Starting QB 2002-2004
Is it possible to be underrated and overrated at the same time? Randall left Tech with nearly every passing record imaginable, but was the quarterback on two teams who massively underachieved.
Randall went won 70% of his games as a starter, which is extremely low on this list. He went 28-12 in his three seasons, and experienced both extremes of the Glennon/Vick, hate/love scale.
In his first year the plan was simple, hand the ball off to Lee Suggs, hand the ball off to Kevin Jones and don't turn the ball over. It worked for eight games, and Randall never threw more than 20 times in a game (and had three games where he didn't even make it to double digit attempts). Well eventually that stopped working, and so did the team, losing three in a row and four of their last 6.
In 2003 they started 6-0, but then Randall threw 3 picks in a blowout loss to West Virginia. That went over well with neither the coaching staff nor the fan base, and the Frankinator elected to pull Randall for Marcus (in a win against #2 Miami), and they were fighting for the job all year.
Randall was also the biggest beneficiary of Marcus' (alleged) foray into the world of (allegedly) underaged girls (allegedly). Randall killed it in '04, winning the first ACC title in school history.
His best performances always seemed to come in times where he was needed the most, Tech just didn't always win in those games. He outdueled Aaron Rodgers in the Insight.com bowl (398 yards, 4 TDs 0 INTs) but lost 52-49. He threw for 500 yards in an overtime game against Syracuse in '02, but lost. Nearly 300 yards against Auburn in the '04 Sugar Bowl...lost again.
He also had the last loss by a Tech quarterback to UVA, and was 1-2 against West Virginia.
Also, to be fair...Randall's defenses were at times...lacking. What they had in talent, they made up for by corners gambling, lineman over-pursuing and dumb penalties.
Overall Performance—6, Big Games—6, Defensive Talent—3
Over 6,500 yards on 59% completions, 48 touchdowns and 31 picks. He led offenses that resided in the top 30 in scoring all three years of his career. Obviously the picks are high, but the number went down each season...and when you are the all-time leader in passing touchdowns you can afford to throw a few more picks.
He had The Untouchables in his backfield for a year (aka Lee Suggs and Kevin Jones to all the youngins in the building), as well as Tech's 3rd all-time leading receiver (Ernest Wilford), arguably the best receiving tight end since Mike Burnop and Jeff King, and then a bunch of freshman receivers in '04.
Statistics—7, Offensive Talent—7
Randall holds to his name an ACC title, ACC Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year in '04, a handful of passing records when he left (including career touchdowns, which he still holds) and the ever prestigious San Francisco Bowl (the kids know it today as the Emerald Nuts Bowl).
In terms of impact on the university, Randall was kind of the opposite of Marcus: he may have over achieved statistically (he was pretty undersized), while being by all accounts an awesome person off the field. A classy guy that you want to root for, it's ironic that he was battling for a job against the guy who probably led the Big East in traffic stops.
FINAL LEGACY RATING-6.10
3. Tyrod Taylor-starting(ish) QB 2007-2008, starting QB 2009-2010
A minor upset at the top! I think we all know who's going to be number 1, but this turn of events even surprised me when the rankings came out.
Again, it's difficult to completely assess Tyrod's performance, because for his freshman and sophomore seasons he was splitting time...but he still went 42-13 in his four years.
As a freshman, he single handedly beat (an unranked) Florida State, but that was the only time in the second half of the season in which he threw more than seven times...SEVEN.
As a sophomore he was...well badly underrated. He had almost four times more rushing scores (7) than passing (2). He played decently in a few key games (Nebraska, Virginia, Cincinnati) but ultimately, that season made it obvious that he hadn't grown as a quarterback, and was probably stunted developmentally for not redshirting.
Junior and senior years? Completely different story. Tyrod was the man on campus, and played like it on the field. He had Nebraska. He did what he had to against Miami (in a monsoon). In his senior year, he lead a team that lost their first two to an ACC title...
As far as big moments go? The Nebraska comeback. The Cincinnati Orange Bowl. Out dueling Russell Wilson in Raleigh. Making Florida State feel foolish in the ACC Championship Game with four total touchdowns. He did lose that miserable game to Stanford, but he also played well in it.
He also went 4-0 against UVA...#lolhoos.
As far as defense goes, he's seen it all. Defenses ranging from great to really holy..and I'm not talking about religion. All jokes aside, the 2010 needed Tyrod to score as many points as possible...which he often did.
Overall Performance—8, Big Games—7, Defensive Talent—5.5
Over 7,000 yards on 57% completions, 44 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. That's pretty damn good. If he only improved steadily every year, instead of making two huge leaps in his junior and senior season, he'd own every passing record by a substantial margin.
I mean, his last two years, he had 37 scores and 10 picks! That may very well be the best two year stretch, statistically, of any quarterback to ever hit Blacksburg.
He had awesome receivers freshman year, and then receivers that eventually turned awesome (Coale and Boykin), but had to also work through their early struggles. Oh, and he also had two guys who set the single-season rushing record two years in a row...that's pretty good.
Statistics—8, Offensive Talent—7
In terms of hardware (takes a deep breathe): 3 ACC titles, 3 Orange Bowl appearances (1 win), a Chick-fil-A Bowl win, ACC Player of the Year (2010), ACC Offensive Player of the Year (2010), Tech's all-time leading passer and second in touchdowns, and his face on one awesome "Tyrod is my homeboy" t shirts (exhales)...you know just casual stuff.
In terms of impact...he owned the town. But he also was the quarterback for a bunch of high profile losses (Alabama, Kansas, Boise State JMU, Stanford)..so fair or not, those were also associated with him on a national level.
Still, at the end of the day, Tyrod's simply the man.
FINAL LEGACY RATING-6.80
2. Jim Druckenmiller-starting QB, 1995-1996
Before a certain quarterback brought Tech to the biggest of stages, there was Druckenmiller, who caught the nation's attention with two high profile bowl appearances in two years.
20-4 in two years as a starter. In terms of nerdy Batman comparisons, Maurice DeShazo was Michael Keaton, and Druckenmiller was Christian Bale (with Grant Noel being Val Kilmer and Don Strock being Adam West...look it up kids).
Similar to Tyrod in 2010, Druck's '95 Hokies lost their first two games...and then won their next 10, including a win over #17 Miami (with pre-murder trial Ray Lewis, no less!), over Donovan McNabb's #20 Syracuse, a thrilling last second win against UVA in Charlottesville and capped it off with a win over a Texas team starring the BMW backfield (aka Ricky Williams and two guys who don't matter anymore) in the Sugar Bowl. I mean...that's one awesome season.
In '96, he lead Tech to a 10-1 record, including three consecutive wins against top-25 teams (Miami, West Virginia and UVA...a pretty good stretch for bragging rights), and then got thumped by Nebraska in the Orange Bowl (practically the same team that went undefeated in '97).
In terms of big games, Druck went 7-1 against teams in the top 20. 7-1! IT may not always have been pretty (in fact, it usually wasn't), but he still won..which is really what matters.
He was helped in '95 by a defense that was #1 in the country in scoring..but 4 losses in 2 years is a very good look.
Overall Performance—9, Big Games—9, Defensvie Talent-7.5
Druck definitely grew into his starting role, with a modest 4,480 yards on 54% completions, 35 touchdowns and 15 picks over mostly 2 years. He threw 14 TDs and 11 INTs in '95, but then 17 TDs and only 5 INTs in '96.
He was never known for throwing up huge numbers...it wasn't his thing. He was the leader of the team, the guy who came through in the clutch (sometimes despite throwing 3 picks earlier). Druck won, and at the end of the day that rises above the numbers.
He was not really surrounded with great talent on offense. Bryan Still, Shawn Scales, Ken Oxendine...no one that particularly stands out.
Statistics—6, Offensive Talent—4
Sugar Bowl win, Orange Bowl appearance, two Big East titles, 1997 Big East Offensive Player of the Year, 2-0 against Virginia (pre-Groh..like when they were consistently good). That's a solid haul, especially for a guy that only started two years.
In terms of impact, we already covered that his teams put Tech on the map with two consecutive national bowl appearances. In terms of...community....impact, I believe the old adage was: "Druckenmiller never misses a start or a party". I don't know whether this is true or not...but I've heard some Druck DT stories. Apparently the dude could throw it back. What is the over/under on number of drinks that he actually paid for between fall of '95 and spring of '97...10? I'd probably take the under, everyone should have bought that man drinks.
FINAL LEGACY RATING-7.00
1. Michael Vick-starting QB 1999-2000
Duh...if you were looking/hoping for anyone else, you probably shouldn't have been reading this list.
He set the benchmark for all other Tech quarterbacks. 20-2 in two years (technically), but really should be just 20-1. He missed 2.75 games in his career, which is really the only blemish during his tenure.
In 1999, they dominated every team in sight (with the exception of West Virginia and Florida State). In 2000? They did more of the same (with the exception of Pitt and Miami). Under Vick, the Hokies averaged 40 points per game. That number hasn't been approached since.
The big games category is also easy...because he only lost two games! He lost to Florida State in the National Championship game in 1999, and a Miami team that should have played for the title in 2000. Every other big game...or game...he won.
Against every top-25 team that they played, Tech won by a combined score of 265-138, and that includes losses to Miami and Florida State...that's so good, it's a little weird. Remember that 62-0 game against #16 Syracuse in '99? Me too...enough said.
In '99 Vick was helped by a classic Bud Foster defense. They were a bunch of guys that didn't quite fit the profile of their traditional position, but played well anyways. In 2000, they lost many of the guys who were the heart and soul of the D and took a huge step backward, which didn't really matter since Vick was putting up 40 a game.
Overall Performance—10, Big Games—9, Defensive Talent—5
The numbers weren't great...but were really, really good. 3,300 yards on 56% passing, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Oh, and also 16 rushing scores. Yeah, 8 rushing scores a year from a quarterback who operated out of a pro-style offense, not spread craziness like quarterbacks today.
His Heisman finalist season? 2,065 yards, 13 TDs, 5 INTs, 585 yards and 8 rushing scores. I'm not a professional...but I'd say that's pretty good.
It's also even more impressive when looking at what he was working with. He had Andre Davis who, in '99, averaged TWENTY-FIVE YARDS PER CATCH. I'll let that sink in. Twenty. Five. Yards. Holy cow.
He also had both Davis and Lee Suggs in 2000, who rushed for 27 touchdowns. Other than that...he pretty much had guys named Slowikowski.
Production-9, Offensive Talent—4
Big East title, Gator Bowl win, 1999 Big East Offensive Player of the Year, 3rd in the 1999 Heisman voting, 6th in the 2000 Heisman voting...oh, and a national title appearance. That's pretty good.
In terms of impact. it can't be put into words. He put the university on the map. He made College Gameday a regular Blacksburg visitor. It may be a coincidence, but applications rose between 1999 and 2001 by nearly 30%.
FINAL LEGACY RATING-8.4
So there we go. The systematic ranking of all starting QBs between 1992 and 2012. You can't argue with it...it's science.
I'm just kidding. Argue with me. Comment on it. Call me an idiot. It's the kind of things like this that will help pass the 41 days until Labor Day.