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College Football: Thomas returning for senior season
BY NATHAN WARTERS
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Virginia Tech is on the verge of making some major offensive changes, but quarterback Logan Thomas will still lead the charge in 2013.
Thomas, a two-year starter, announced on ESPNU on Tuesday afternoon that he will return for his senior season. It was a tough decision, Thomas said, but in the end he felt another year of college was best for him.
“I think another year of football, another year of being able to play the game, play as many football games as I can would have helped me out. And I think I definitely need it,” Thomas told The Free Lance-Star. “That was kind of the big thing that made me want to come back.”
The 6-foot-6, 260-pound Thomas ranks third in school history in career total offense (7,011 yards), passing yards (6,096) and rushing touchdowns (20).
He gives the Hokies, who reportedly already have made changes to their offensive staff, the best hope of turning things around after struggling to gain yards and put up points this season.
“I wasn’t happy with the way the team played last year,” Thomas said. “We were 7–6, and I’m not a person to settle, and I think I can leave a good legacy for the younger guys as well.”
Thomas, a Lynchburg native, struggled with his accuracy this season, completing only 51.3 percent of his passes with 18 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions. Still, he was projected by some NFL draft experts as a potential first-round pick.
The deadline for underclassmen to announce early entry into the draft was 4 p.m. Tuesday. Thomas said he informed Hokies coach Frank Beamer and assistants Bryan Stinespring and Shane Beamer of his decision Monday evening.
“When I told them [Monday], they were extremely excited,” Thomas said. “They were smiling, laughing and giving high fives. They told me they were happy to have their leader back in that room, and I’m happy to be back.”
Thomas said he had no discussions with any new coaches, and when asked if he was aware of any changes to Tech’s offensive staff, he said, “No, sir.”
No official coaching moves have been announced by the school, but CBS Sports columnist Bruce Feldman reported Monday that the Hokies have hired Scot Loeffler as offensive coordinator. Other coaching changes have been rumored as well.
Stinespring, Thomas’ primary recruiter at Tech, is expected to vacate the offensive coordinator position but stay on staff.
Loeffler, 38, spent last season as the offensive coordinator at Auburn and was the offensive coordinator at Temple in 2011.
Loeffler made his reputation as a quarterbacks coach at Michigan and Florida, where he tutored Tom Brady, Brian Griese, Chad Henne and Tim Tebow.
Loeffler could help Thomas make the next step toward being an elite quarterback.
“For me, I need to be a lot more consistent,” Thomas said. “I had a couple of throws, or a lot of throws, get away from me this year. I’ve got to take care of the little things, and hopefully that will allow me to become a better quarterback and make our team become a better team.”
Thomas, who graduated in December with a degree in human development, submitted paperwork to the NFL’s draft advisory board, a panel of general managers and personnel directors, to receive feedback about where he might be chosen in this year’s draft. He said he did not receive a first-round grade.
“It wasn’t what I wanted it to be, but it’s where I expected it to be and I’m just going to leave it at that,” Thomas said of his grade.
Despite a down year in 2012, Thomas still finished just shy of his second 3,000-yard season and also rushed for 525 yards and nine scores, both team highs. He accounted for 3,500 of the team’s 4,898 total yards to break the school’s single-season total yardage record for the second straight year.
Thomas, who completed almost 60 percent of his passes and scored 30 total touchdowns as a sophomore, wasn’t helped this season by a supporting cast that was clearly not as good as the one he had in his first year.
Based on evaluations from multiple NFL draft experts, Thomas’ potential far exceeds his performance on the field in 2012.
“I think he’s a guy with a lot of talent, particularly arm strength, but his ability to be able to compete for a job in the NFL now is really limited,” former Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian said Tuesday on ESPNU. “As a general rule, I believe quarterbacks should play as much as they can at the college level, and in his case I think he will be well served to come back and play another year at Virginia Tech.”
Nathan Warters: 540/374-5442