Breaking down what QB AJ Bush means to the Hokies

We break down what Glaze's commitment means for Virginia Tech, with analysis by Scout's Josh Harvey.

Is he the answer at quarterback? That remains to be seen. But Virginia Tech got some reinforcement for this spring and fall on Friday when Iowa Western Community College quarterback A.J. Bush accepted an offer from the Hokies.

What does his decision mean for the Virginia Tech? We break down Bush's commitment and how he got to this point. 

The Decision

Originally from Milton (Ga.), Bush transferred to Norcross (Ga.) high school before his senior year. Hen then signed his letter of intent just before signing day to Nebraska. He also picked up a few late offers from Cincinnati, Kansas State and Temple.

Bush redshirted his first season in Lincoln and didn't see any action in 2015 as a sophomore. In the spring of 2016, Bush was in contention for the starting position. But by mid-August, when it was apparent he wouldn't get the job, he transferred to Iowa Western Community College. In short, Bush has moved around a lot over the past couple of years.

And Bush didn't put up huge numbers at IWCC. This past season, he threw for 602 yards and completed 45 percent of his passes, with three touchdowns. But he also threw eight interceptions. Bush ran for another 285 yards and five touchdowns.

Bush didn't have any immediate options after the season, but it appeared he would head to Cincinnati shortly after Luke Fickell was hired as coach there last month.

The Hokies' first option was Notre Dame's Malik Zaire. But as TheVTZone.com reported early last week, Zaire turned Virginia Tech down. That put the bullesye squarely on Bush. And on Friday, Bush accepted.

What it means for the class

Point blank, the Hokies HAD to have another quarterback.

The departure of Jérod Evans, who on Jan. 2 announced his intention to forgo his senior season for the NFL Draft, left the cupboard a bit bare. That left Virginia Tech with just one scholarship quarterback on the roster, Josh Jackson, who will be a redshirt freshman in 2017. The Hokies have a pair of walk-ons in Jack Click and Chase Mummau.

Virginia Tech did help arrange for 2017 three-star commit Hendon Hooker to graduate a semester early from high school, last week. That means Hooker will arrive in Blacksburg this weekend for the spring semester and participate in spring practice.

But ideally, Hooker will serve as only an emergency quarterback this fall. In all likelihood, he'll redshirt to learn the system.

Expert Analysis

"Bush is an extremely hard worker. It gets thrown around probably too often, but the guy was always working on his craft. If his teammates were getting water during a break, he was throwing the football. If the first and second team were the only ones running drills, Bush was throwing the football on the sidelines while watching the practice reps. His work ethic was impressive and I pointed it out in a few practice reports.

 

When you look at his game, he always had a strong arm, but at times was very slow with his release. I must admit I didn’t see much of the tape from Iowa Western. I do know in the offseason he worked heavily with a quarterback’s coach out west. While he’s labeled a dual-threat, I was always felt he was more of a threat in the pocket than as a runner. He just looked uncomfortable at times running down-field."

-- Josh Harvey, BigRedReport publisher, who covered Harvey from 2014-16

What it means for Virginia Tech as a program

No, Bush didn't put up eye-popping numbers like Evans did coming out of JUCO. But you can't look at that.

There weren't a ton of options on the transfer market and at 6'4" and 225 pounds, Bush is a big mobile quarterback at lest similar to the mold of Evans. He's played in a similar type of offense, even dating back to Norcross, so he could be a good fit. Interestingly, though, he's a southpaw, which the Hokies haven't seen much of since the Michael Vick days.

Make no mistake, Bush is not clearly 'the guy' here. He and Jackson will duke it out through spring practice and into fall camp. But the competition should help both and especially whoever comes out on top.

Bush could turn out to be the starter, as he was close at Nebraska. Whoever wins out, though, will be helped by a receiving corps of promising young players, led by arguably the best returning receiver in the ACC, senior-to-be Cam Phillips.


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