In 2011, it was LSU’s Jordan Jefferson. Last year, it was Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. Now, it’s Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas, who Alabama coach Nick Saban said has the ability to beat a team with his arm and legs.
“Logan Thomas is an exceptionally talented quarterback who is really capable of taking over a game as a passer or a runner,” Saban said. “He’s a big guy who’s very athletic.”
Top-ranked Alabama will open the season Saturday in Atlanta against the unranked Hokies and Thomas, a senior who exploded onto the scene in 2011 as a sophomore. He led the Hokies to an 11-3 record and a trip to the Sugar Bowl. Thomas accounted for 30 total touchdowns, including 19 passing and 11 rushing. He completed 60 percent of his passes and had scouts raving about his potential at the NFL level.
But as Thomas regressed in 2012, so did the Hokies. Thomas completed just 51 percent of his throws and the Hokies limped to a 7-6 record, its worst in 20 years. In an interview with WJOX, Thomas said he pressed too much during his junior season and tried to make every play instead of relying on his teammates.
Still, Saban has seen what Thomas can do and isn’t overlooking the 6-foot-6, 260 pounder from Lynchburg, Va.
“He’s shown he has the capability of being an outstanding player in terms of making great throws as well as an ability to run the ball,” Saban said. “He’s a really big guys who has a really strong arm and is a really strong runner. So, we see him as one of the big challenges for our defense. All we look at is a guy’s history to show what he’s capable of. If he’s not going to play well that’s going to be something that we have to contribute to by how we play.”
Safety HaHa Clinton-Dix said he hasn’t played against a 260-pound quarterback.
“He’s a great quarterback, big, physical, he can tuck the ball and run,” Clinton-Dix said. “We have to be ready for that.”
Defensive end Ed Stinson said that while Thomas is a bigger quarterback, he’s confident he can bring him down. Stinson said it will take everyone knowing their assignments to stop Thomas and the Hokie offense.
“He’s a big guy. He’s got a good arm,” Stinson said. “We’ve just got to come to play and stay in our gaps and look to contain him.”