Who will be the most important to getting the Justin Fuente era off to a good start? As we've done the previous three seasons at our previous home, we've counted down the players we believed were most important to Virginia Tech's success. And this season is no different, as we've compiled the top 16 for 2016.
Each of our staff members compiled a list of who they believed were the 16 most important players for the Hokies this season. Each player then earned a score based on where each staff member ranked them (16 points for a first place vote, 15 points for second place, 14 points for third place, etc.) and the points were added up for a true staff ranking. Tiebreakers included most higher votes and most overall votes.
For each of the next 16 days, we'll reveal each of our top players. Be sure to chime in on our message board with your thoughts and who you think should be the most important players this season.
No. 3 Jérod Evans
Jason Stamm, Publisher
True, coach Justin Fuente has not named a starting quarterback. Heading into the beginning of fall camp this week, it's technically still an open competition between Evans and senior Brenden Motley.
But whenever the starter is officially announced, I fully expect it to be Evans. And not to discount Motley at all, as he played admirably when thrust into the starting role in the season-opener against Ohio State, but Evans needs to be the starter or the Hokies could be in trouble this season.
Evans is the guy whom Fuente and his staff hand-picked to be their quarterback. He's the one Fuente and company recruited heavily when they were at Memphis and it sounds as if Evans was all set to head there before Fuente left for Virginia Tech.
Evans put up big numbers at Trinity Valley CC (TX) and physically and stylistically looks hands down to be the best fit for the Hokies' new spread offense. Motley might be a senior and played well last season, but that was a different offense. The one thing that Motley would have a leg up with would be the chemistry with Isaiah Ford and the other receivers. Evans, though, has had the spring and summer and will get time in fall camp to build a rapport as well.
Unlike Motley, Evans has one more season to play and needs to be the guy to step up as a starter this season. The starter might be named before the season-opener or perhaps not until before the Battle at Bristol, but either way, he'll be the captain of what could be a high-powered offense.
Max Esterhuizen, Editor
Evans, a highly touted JUCO transfer, has the ability to have a major impact on the team. He transferred to the Hokies with one thing in mind – to win the role of starting quarterback.
The battle is most likely coming down to either Evans or Motley. If Evans is able to live up to the hype, look for him to win the role of starting quarterback.
Doug Bowman, Senior Writer
Without a good quarterback, it’s hard to win games. Evans is locked in a tight battle with Motley heading in August, but I fully expect Evans to come out on top. They are probably about the same in terms of passing accuracy, but Evans is more dynamic on the ground. Throw in the fact that Evans had two years left to Motley’s one, and it makes sense to accelerate Evans development with a ton of snaps this year.
The ACC, particularly the Coastal, isn’t a conference that is going to eat up inconsistent quarterbacks. If Evans can limit his mistakes and make a few plays a game, Tech should have a chance to win. If along the way, the proverbial light comes on and he becomes more Tyrod Taylor-ish, then things will be moving in the right direction in Blacksburg.
Kelly Porazzo, Staff Writer
In my opinion, Evans is the most important and influential player for Virginia Tech. Even though it is not official as to who is the starting quarterback, I predict Evans will hold the title. Hopefully Evans does not succumb to pressure because he has the potential to be “the guy” as Frank Beamer used to call it.
The combination of a new head coach installing a brand new offense and a new transfer quarterback with a fresh start could bring magic to the field. During fall camp practices, Evans needs to establish a close bond with the offense so that trust can lead to execution.