Comparing Josh Jackson's r-Freshman season to CFB's best

Regardless of where you stand currently on the Josh Jackson for QB1 debate at the moment, everyone can pretty much agree that he had a relatively solid freshman season. Watching him play though, I would think to myself 'this guy's a lot better than this, right?"

Take for instance the Clemson game: Jackson has 2 INT's, one goes through the hands of Murphy on a bubble screen and the other is an insane one-handed grab by a D-Lineman. The state line says 29-44, 251 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INT, but anybody watching that game knows his play was better.

It got me thinking, how does Jackson's freshman year compare to the big time QB's? Jackson missed a lot of plays, but no way did other freshman QB's make those consistently.

Here's a look at Josh Rosen's freshman year at UCLA:
Comp 292
Att 487
Percent 60
Yards 3669
TD 23
INT 11
Rating 134.3

That's pretty good but his team also went 8-5 in the Pac-12 with a cupcake schedule....

So next, here's Sam Darnold's:
Comp 246
Att 366
Percent 67.2 <-- this is stupid high, like Tom Brady status!
Yards 3086
TD 31
Rating 161.1

That's even better, and he won a Rose Bowl. But, Darnold doesn't run. He's a one dimensional pocket passer.

This is what Trace McSorley did his first year, playing in a similar offense to Fuente's: (14 games)
Comp 224
Att 387
Percent 57.9
Yards 3614
TD 29
Rating 156.9
Rushes 146
Yards 365
TD 7

and Jackson:
Comp 236
Att 396
Percent 59.6
Yards 2991
TD 20
INT 9 <-- 3 interceptions were off "dropped balls" i.e. Clemson example
Rating 135.2
Rushes 124
Yards 324
TD 6

Bottom line, Jackson was pretty damn good considering, especially running the ball. His numbers may not stack up entirely, but he's certainly in the ballpark and considering the injuries and inexperience of last year's offense, he's headed in the right trajectory.

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all stats via

Que the "QP for QB1" thread in 3... 2... 1...

I may be alone on this, but I really expect Jackson to run A LOT more this year. Especially if our running game doesn't get going, then this should help himself to open up some passing lanes. If what some of the players said is true that it wasn't until the 14th practice that he threw a pick, then that is something legit to be excited about- a smart game manager IMO is an ideal guy to be the head of the offense. I really believe that he will continue to make progress and be a really effective QB as the receivers mature

INT 9 <-- 3 interceptions were off "dropped balls" i.e. Clemson example

First and foremost, good stats/research but I have to say I hate the above quote. Whats the point of singling that out and not for others? Are we suppose to be blind to the fact that Rosen, Darnold, and McSorely most likely had interceptions that were off drops or tips too?

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

Are we suppose to be blind to the fact that Rosen, Darnold, and McSorely most likely had interceptions that were off drops or tips too?

Yes. Yes we are. And I'll thank you to stop asking so many questions. There are specific persons addressing your inquiries /s
[I'm sorry. I couldn't type that with a straight face. My bad]

Waho's suck
Uva swallows

I'd wager it's from not wanting to go back and watch those QB's entire freshman seasons since tipped INTs aren't a tracked stat.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

No, but you don't have to ignore 3 picks to make that number comparable. It's not like Jackson had five more picks, and he's using that to artificially pull down JJ's int numbers to line up with the other guys. He's solidly in the middle there.

Aside from that, if we want to see possible room for growth, it's a nice thing to note. I really don't get the JJ hate. He had a pretty good season. He did struggle against Clemson, which had maybe the best pass rush in the FBS, as a freshman. Because of course he did. But he flashed some really good stuff too.

I don't "hate" JJ... I just wasn't feeling very good from the progression of his play from the start to the end of the season. Again, just my feeling as the season ended, but I hope he balls out and surprises me with a huge jump in improvement

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

Obviously plays like that happen to every QB, but the having 33% of INT's be from dropped balls is kind of staggering and somewhat unlucky. It's not to make numbers look better it's simply an observation.

Oh I agree. I am more of a call it how it is and don't sugar coat it. You say unlucky, but one could say it could have been a bad pass by JJ to cause the tip or on the WR for not catching it

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

I mentioned this in some other thread, so apologies if I'm repeating myself to you, but I think it's worth singling out for Jackson because of his inexperienced WR group. If he was throwing to even a somewhat experienced group, I don't think it's work making a distinction. Even so, I completely agree that we shouldn't say his "adjusted" INT total should be 6 due to drops. Maybe more like 7-8 in my mind.

I hope we see the JJ from the first half of last year. That nagging injury last year really slowed him down and made him seem hesitant. If he's healthy, I think he is our best option at QB right now.

Fans GREATLY underestimate how injuries affect athletic performance - in all sports. The answer to the question "what happened with [insert athlete name here]?" is more often than not a serious or even nagging injury.

("Drugs" used to be a pretty common reason too, but that doesn't seem to be the case nearly as much anymore).

I really hope that I'm wrong in saying this and I will be the first to publicly eat crow when/if i'm wrong, but I just dont think JJ has the physical tool set to take us above the 9/10 win threshold. He's a gutsy dude and I'm happy we have him, but by my untrained eyeball he's not in the same ballpark as the guys referenced above.

You're going to have to clarify "physical tool set" some because I don't see any glaring differences, granted I haven't watched nearly as much of the other quarterbacks listed.

It's Time to go to Work

So what you're saying is that we should move him to TE and start QP2?

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

Really nice post, it's a nice wide-angle, take-a-step-back analysis.

I think most likely Jackson doesn't have those other guys' upside, but what he definitely does have now is experience, which is worth its weight in gold in college football.

Worst case scenario, we know we have a QB who is capable of playing D1 college football with the big boys.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

I'm all for giving Josh Jackson acknowledgement for his achievements and support as a Hokie and odds-on favorite to retain his starting job, but I would like to also see a split of their stats against P5 competition. Some of Jackson's stat padding games came early in the season against weaker teams, where in contrast, Sam Darnold as a r-Fr. had one of best individual performances I've ever seen from a college QB against Penn State in the Rose Bowl.

This is the most overused trope against any QB that someone personally doesn't like. Not to single you out, but everyone uses the stat padding argument. ALL QBs stat pad against bad teams. Our strength of schedule is harder than the PAC-12, and they play cupcakes too.

All QB's stat pad against bad teams.

Agree, not sure it's "all" but yes the overwhelming majority do.

However, not all QB's maintain that level against quality P5 teams with substantially more athletic/talented/well coached defenses.

I think it is very relevant to compare QB's against quality competition, I can't think of any argument why that wouldn't be a worthwhile exercise.

I think in JJ's situation there would be a decidedly less impressive stat line against ACC play/P5 competition. Now, in JJ's specific case, we may need to factor in the reports that he was battling injuries through the end of the season, but that doesn't completely answer why his production dipped so significantly, though it certainly could have affected it.

I still maintain that the play calling got more and more funky as the season went on. Whether it was his play influencing the calls to an extent I don't know, but there just seemed to be more and more head scratchers called as the season progressed.

Tack that on to his and Nijman's injuries as well as the increased level of competition.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

I agree with all those points, those variables are relevant in the discussion and we should apply that context to the numbers we see from my suggested split. However, as posted below, his numbers in conference were no longer as favorably comparable to the other 3.

I mean, I'd also like to see their numbers in the ACC vs the Pac-12.

Ask and ye shall receive

Josh Rosen, 2015

Non-conference and bowl games
Combined record of non-conference opponents: 22-28
Record vs non-conference opponents: 3-1 (loss to Nebraska)

  • vs UVA (4-8): 28/35, 351 Yds, 3 TDs, 192.5 passer rating, 80.00%
  • vs UNLV (3-9): 22/42, 223 Yds, 1 TD, 1 INT, 100.1 passer rating, 52.38%
  • vs BYU (9-4): 11/23, 106 Yds, 1 TD, 3 INT, 74.8 passer rating, 47.83%
  • vs Nebraska (6-7, bowl game): 26/41, 319 Yds, 3 TD, 2 INT, 143.2 passer rating, 63.41%
  • Overall non-conference stats: 87/141, 999 Yds, 8 TD, 6 INT, 131.4 passer rating, 61.70%

Pac-12 stats
Combined record of Pac-12 opponents: 66-52
Record vs the Pac-12: 5-4

Further breakdown:
vs the Pac-12: 205/346, 2671 Yds, .15 TD, 5 INT, 135.5 passer rating, 59.25%
vs P5 competition (includes UVA): 259/422, 3341 Yds, 21 TD, 7 INT, 141.0 passer rating, 61.37%
vs non-P5 competition: 33/65, 329 Yds, 2 TD, 4 INT, 91.1 passer rating, 50.77%
vs teams 0.500 or worse: 139/224, 1768 Yds, 12 TD, 4 INT, 142.5 passer rating, 4-2 record, 62.05%
vs teams w/ winning record (ranked or not): 153/263, 1902 Yds, 11 TD, 7 INT, 127.4 passer rating, 4-3 record, 58.17%
vs teams ranked in final AP poll: 37/72, 545 Yds, 4 TD, 2 INT, 127.8 passer rating, 0-2 record, 51.39%

First thanks for breaking this down. Secondly, I may be reading this wrong, but having better numbers against Pac-12 competition vs Non-P5 leads me to believe that Pac-12 defenses are garbage.

I think that would be drawing way too much of a conclusion from only two non-P5 games. His game against UNLV was lackluster but we aren't going to suggest UNLV has a better defense than most Pac12 teams are we? Additionally, his poor game was against a 9-4 BYU team that was pretty good.

If we are going to provide context to defend JJ, we should provide similar context for the others.

Fair I guess. Yet, somehow for JJ it's stat padding in the non-conference but for Rosen it looks like his out of conference numbers were worse. Just saying it could be the fact that Pac-12 defenses aren't as good as the ACC.

Well for one, Pac-12 plays fewer OOC games, and only played one G5 team and really strong BYU team which is an independent.

In contrast, early in the year we played 3 consecutive games against FCS Delaware (27-0), ECU (64-17), and Old Dominion (38-0) these were distinctly inferior teams where Josh Jackson went for:

2017 Game Logs Table
Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Rush Rush Rush Rush
Rk Date School Opponent Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD
2 2017-09-09 Virginia Tech Delaware W 16 28 57.1 222 2 0 147.3 8 19 2.4 0
3 2017-09-16 Virginia Tech @ East Carolina W 24 31 77.4 372 5 0 231.4 3 -5 -1.7 0
4 2017-09-23 Virginia Tech Old Dominion W 20 30 66.7 298 3 1 176.4 10 29 2.9 0
13 Games 236 396 59.6 2991 20 9 135.2 124 324 2.6 6

Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original TableGenerated 5/16/2018.

Edit: Well it is quite clear I selected the wrong format on sports reference for TKP, what would be the correct format for future reference?

You're forgetting WVU, a ranked team to start the season. I'd say that WVU, ECU and ODU are comparable to BYU, UVA and UNLV. My main point is who in the Pac-12 even comes close to Clemson or Miami defensively?

I'm not forgetting WVU, I'm showing you the three consecutive OOC games we played against shit competition and showing you the stats that JJ got half his touchdowns and only one interception against these three overmatched teams. You keep changing your point of attack, but I am addressing everything you are saying. Exactly what I showed you was the "so called stat padding" that you keep referencing. He actually did pad his stats against these three teams.

These three games alone are more shitty teams than Rosen played his freshman year, they only played 2 non-P5 teams period. We played a recently promoted G5 team, a defensively inept G5 team, and an FCS team.

Uhhh. Considering my main point has been his Pac-12 numbers you haven't address that at all.

Oh, you mean where you tried to use two games against UNLV and BYU to claim that Pac12 defense must be complete garbage.

As silly as that reasoning is, I did address why using those two games to make such a jump doesn't really hold water.

I honestly do not know why I ever try to have a back and forth with you.

Secondly, I may be reading this wrong, but having better numbers against Pac-12 competition vs Non-P5 leads me to believe that Pac-12 defenses are garbage.

I think it's completely reasonable to expect him to increase his numbers out of conference (You're right in one respect, I should have said out of conference instead of non-P5) UNLESS his in-conference teams defense's are garbage.

You can't blame JJ for padding his stats against out of conference then say that Rosen didn't do it against his weaker in conference teams. Or even not fault him for not padding stats against shitty UNLV.

You're missing the biggest point here by being fixated on whether or not the others stat-padded. The point is that the other QB's mentioned played well against good teams, where JJ didn't. It really doesn't matter to me if both are capable of stat padding against bad teams or not, I care that Rosen, Darnold and McSorley, the original comparisons, played better against better competition. JJ struggled against better competition last season.

edit: someone just went through and downvoted every single one of my posts in this thread... wonder who that was.


vs teams w/ winning record (ranked or not): 153/263, 1902 Yds, 11 TD, 7 INT, 127.4 passer rating, 4-3 record, 58.17%


vs teams w/ winning record (ranked or not): 121/203, 1453 Yds, 5 TD, 6 INT, 121.9 passer rating, 4-3 record, 59.61%

Again, he needs to increase his Tds, but he's right there efficiency wise.

EDIT: JJ also had 4 rushing TDs against teams with a winning record.

Quick note that all of this excludes games against I-AA/FCS competition. That wasn't a problem for Rosen because he didn't play any, but at least this were there's less "stat padding".

Josh Jackson, 2017

Non-conference and bowl games
Combined record of non-conference opponents: 25-25
Record vs non-conference opponents: 3-1 (loss to Oklahoma State)

  • vs WVU (7-6): 15/26, 235 Yds, 1 TD, 0 INT, 146.4 passer rating, 57.69%
  • vs. ECU (3-9): 24/31, 372 Yds, 5 TD, 0 INT, 231.4 passer rating, 77.42%
  • vs ODU (5-7): 20/30, 298 Yds, 3 TD, 1 INT, 176.4 passer rating, 66.67%
  • vs Oklahoma St (10-3): 22/41, 248 Yds, 1 TD, 1 INT, 107.6 passer rating, 53.66%
  • Overall non-conference stats: 81/128, 1153 Yds, 10 TD, 2 INT, 63.82%, 3-1 record

ACC Stats
Combined record of ACC opponents: 55-46
Record vs the ACC: 5-3

Further breakdown:
vs the ACC: 139/240, 1617 Yds, 8 TD, 7 INT, 119.7 passer rating, 57.92%
vs P5 competition: 176/307, 2100 Yds, 10 TD, 8 INT, 120.3 passer rating, 57.33%
vs non-P5 competition: 44/61, 670 Yds, 8 TD, 1 INT, 204.4 passer rating, 72.13%
vs teams 0.500 or worse: 99/165, 1317, 13 TD, 3 INT, 149.4 passer rating, 5-1 record, 60.00%
vs teams w/ winning record (ranked or not): 121/203, 1453 Yds, 5 TD, 6 INT, 121.9 passer rating, 4-3 record, 59.61%
vs teams ranked in final AP poll: 71/117, 696 Yds, 2 TD, 5 INT, 107.7 passer rating, 0-3 record, 60.68%

Again, he needs to increase his TDs, but those efficiency numbers against teams with winning records are strikingly similar.

Darnlod's numbers are forthcoming. Need to take care of some things at this place called work, first. Though fair warning:

Darnold didn't start the first three games of his career, but did play (Alabama, Stanford, Utah State) so his numbers may be skewed a bit against him because of that.

(Alabama, Stanford, Utah State)

Lol yeah, even I won't be able to fault him for bad numbers compared to JJ there.

Sam Darnold vs. Penn State in the Rose Bowl

33-53 62.3% 453 Yards 5 Touchdowns 1 Int 161.4 QBR

Yep he had a great game. I actually think Darnold is the best of this past year's group and anyone discussed here so far but it could also be the USC effect.

Sam Darnold, 2016

Non-conference and bowl games
Combined record of non-conference opponents: 32-21
Team Record vs non-conference opponents: 3-1 (loss to Alabama)
Record vs non-conference opponents as a starter: 2-0

  • vs Alabama (14-1): 4/8, 29 Yds, 0 TD, 0 INT, 80.5 passer rating, 50.00%. DID NOT START
  • vs Utah State (3-9): 5/7, 62 Yds, 2 TD, 0 INT, 240.1 passer rating, 71.43%. DID NOT START
  • vs Notre Dame (4-8): 19/29, 205 Yds, 2 TD, 0 INT, 147.7 passer rating, 65.52%
  • vs Penn State (11-3): 33/53, 453 Yds, 5 TD, 1 INT, 161.4 passer rating, 62.26%
  • Overall non-conference stats: 61/97, 749 Yds, 9 TD, 1 INT, 156.3 passer rating, 62.89%
  • Overall non-conference as starter: 52/82, 658 Yds, 7 TD, 1 INT, 156.6 passer rating, 63.41%

Pac-12 stats
Combined record of Pac-12 opponents: 62-52
Record vs the Pac-12: 7-2
Record as a starter: 7-1

Further breakdown:
vs the Pac-12: 184/269, 2337 Yds, 21 TD, 9 INT, 160.4 passer rating, 68.40%. One game not started
vs P5 competition: 240/359, 3024 Yds, 28 TD, 10 INT, 157.8 passer rating, 66.58%. Two games not started
vs non-P5 competition: See Utah State stats
vs teams 0.500 or worse: 138/202, 1661 Yds, 20 TD, 5 INT, 165.1 passer rating, 7-0 record, 68.32%
vs teams w/ winning record: 107/164, 1425 Yds, 10 TD, 5 INT, 152.3 passer rating, 3-3 record, 65.24%

All six of USC's opponents with winning records in 2016 were ranked in the final AP poll.

I think some of the late season funky play calling had to do with Slye's injury as much as Nijman's. You have to change up your play calling if you're not sure you can hit the field goal.

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

JJ coming in as the second highest rated returning ACC QB, at #19, according to Athlon Sports.

Only Finley at NC State was higher, rightfully so.

I think we saw a lot of promise from Jackson, with some Freshmen mistakes mixed in. I was frustrated at times, but didn't want to see him get benched, he needs to grow at the position. Good offensive line play will dictate his success this season.

Its very strange - the rest of college football seems to be higher on Jackson than I think Hokie nation is.

I came to the same conclusion while reading through. Some of it we can probably chalk up to the matter of watching the games vs reading the stats/splits. Maybe we are just a bunch of cynics. Maybe we're just all riding that QP hype train a little early.

What I found interesting is some of the QBs ahead of UVA's projected starter:

98. Bryce Perkins, LOLUVA
79. Stephen Calvert, Liberty (my Alma Mater, 2nd year of transition from FCS, threw Stroman's one handed, finger tip interception in the first game of the Fuente era)
60. Andrew Ford, UMass (Former Hokie who was the #3 QB his redshirt year)
32. Charlie Brewer, Baylor (Younger brother of the Hokies' starter during Ford's redshirt year)

NC State lost a bunch of talent. Even losing players on D puts pressure on a QB.

It'll be interesting to see how good Finley looks with a lot more on his back this year (think Logan Thomas after his sophmore season?).

A QB with experience in Fuente's offense has to be above 60% passing. Now that Josh has that experience, that number needs to go up considerably for the offense to be where we want it to be. We throw a lot of high % passes in this offense, and I think with that number around 63-65% we will be a lot better than we were the last half of last year- when Jackson was apparently suffering from 15 huge secret injuries and there wasn't a QB on campus that we trusted enough to spell such a hurt player. Hopefully we have more depth there now as well.

The biggest thing I want to see JJ improve on this year is his ability to improvise. Last year, it seemed he would sit in the pocket and make 1 or 2 reads, if it wasn't there he would tuck the ball. As he would make the transition to running (especially without elite speed or elusiveness), the linebacker would creep up and easily make the tackle.

If he's able to extend some plays and keep his eyes downfield, that would allow our playmakers to break open and keep our offense moving in some situations.

Ok so for the record (whatever record that is) I've never thought that Sam Darnold is as good as ESPN always made him out to be...

So you're saying there's a reason bad NFL franchises are bad? (See Jets, NY)

In conference games only:

Josh Rosen (9 games)
205 Completions
347 Attempts
59.08% completion
2671 yards
15 TDs
5 INTs

Sam Darnold (9 games)
185 Completions
269 Attempts
68.77% completion
2337 yards
22 TDs
8 INTs

Trace McSorley (10 Games 9 + conference championship)
148 Completions
268 Attempts
55.22% completion
2532 yards
21 TDs
3 INTs

Josh Jackson (8 games)
139 completions
240 attempts
57.92% completion
1616 yards
8 TDs
7 INTs

Aaaaaaand this exactly what I was looking for in my above post. Thank you for posting.

So the other three average 60.8% and 269 yards / game. Jackson is at 57.9% and 202 yards / game. Not bad when you consider the defenses of the Pac-12/B1G vs the ACC. Not to mention all the other factors, injury, supporting cast, etc.

I will concede he needs to get his TD numbers up against better competition. And I think that's the crux of pro vs con arguments with JJ. I think that is mainly a factor of injury, WR corps, and lack of running game. If he gets better and the people around him do too, watch out.

I'm certainly not going to argue that JJ is in the same class as Rosen and Darnold, but I'm pretty sure Ucla and USC had more offensive talent. Juju comes to mind for USC.

Te to qb

JJ got to throw to the absolute greatest of all time, Cam Phillips.

Freeman, Still, Davis, Wilford, Royal, Morgan & Isaiah Ford would like a word with you.

Waho's suck
Uva swallows

UCLA isn't Alabama. If we're putting them on a pedestal over us, we're in pretty bad shape. We're talking about 1000 more yards, twice the TDs, and fewer INTs in only one more game.

We're allowed to say Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold may be better than Josh Jackson without getting our VT fan cards revoked

Dude, read you comment history. I went back 3 pages to try to find 1 positive comment about anything VT. That's when you get your card revoked. I called you out because every time I read your name as the next comment I know it's going to be aggressive and argumentative. And then you play the victim.

Your comment history bashes the coaching staff, our QB1, our recruiting, our fans... I could go on. I honestly really don't care what you say because I know what to expect now. But don't act like you are the victim here just because the majority don't agree with your 100+ posts of negativity about the program.

"What are you going to do, stab me? - Quote from Man Stabbed

Saying that it's okay to recognize JJ's numbers don't align with those of 2 first round QBs is 'bashing our qb?' This isn't me playing victim - I think you're being a little dramatic.

As far as my posts go, the bulk of the are re: recruiting, which is probably the single most significant weakness with the program right now (aside from fundraising, which slightly go hand in hand), and topics on the starting QB, where yes, I believe we have a starter who is limited physically. Its the offseason, there aren't a lot of threads I even participate in.

I love VT and have been a HC member since graduation. Bc my post history isn't full of recycled gifs and 'in fuente we trust' for every topic, doesn't mean I hate the program, especially not our fans - not sure what I've ever said about them.

I don't care what your stats say... I want a new QB!


Is it basketball season yet?

Are we really comparing JJ to two 2018 first round picks and a potential 2019 first rounder? Really?

Welcome to the offseason, I see you're new here!

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

The purpose is not to compare him in terms of "JJ is a sure-fire first rounder". The purpose is to show that it's a very rare occurrence when a freshman/r-freshman starts for a major program AND plays very well AND wins. Does JJ project to be a Maxwell Award winner? Not really. But he's not as far off pace as you think.

Looking back at some of the games in the 2nd half, I think the injuries were a factor, had we someone like Ryan willis maybe we could have given him at least a little breather.

Also, I think our running game will be a lot better next season, and we saw that we could be really effective in that Bowl game against OK State, but Josh will have to take advantage of that especially with his long throws, he missed some wide-open passes.

I'm a little worried about the sophmore slump, but I think he will definitely be at the top of his game in year 3 as a starter.

Also, he is not a runner, while he does have some designed run plays and can make things happen with his feet, he is no Vick or Taylor. Josh is his own man, CornFu will do a great job to get him to raise his game.

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