Virginia Tech football’s Logan Thomas had a meteoric rise in 2011, followed by an equally rapid fall in 2012, but in 2013, he’s finally starting to get back on NFL radars.
After throwing 16 interceptions and completing just 51 percent of his passes last season, most NFL scouts started to write Thomas off.
The redshirt senior hasn’t put up electric numbers so far this season, throwing nine touchdowns against six interceptions, but he looks like a completely different quarterback from a season ago.
While Thomas’ mechanics and accuracy were both abysmal at times in 2012, he’s made great strides in both areas this season.
He’s been helped out by offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler and it’s really starting to show on film.
Last season, one of Thomas’ worst tendencies was to bolt from the pocket at the first sign of pressure.
That type of move would occasionally result on a big gain on the ground—he did run for 524 yards last year, after all—but it normally ended in a minimal gain or a loss.
A big key for Thomas coming into the year was how he’d handle pressure in the pocket.
The Hokies’ offensive line has been much improved at pass blocking, but Thomas has still had to face his fair share of pass rushers.
The difference this year is that he’s not afraid to hang in the pocket and deliver the ball.
Just watch this clip of Tech’s lone touchdown against the Pittsburgh Panthers for a perfect example.
Pitt brings five men on the blitz, and while Thomas throws a little off his back foot, he uses his arm strength to get the ball where only tight end Kalvin Cline can get it.
Most importantly, Thomas kept his eyes down the field the whole time, refusing to panic under pressure.
If he keeps that up, NFL scouts will start taking him seriously.
Thomas’ turnovers always seemed to come at the worst possible time last year.
It’s bad enough that the quarterback tied for the second-most interceptions in the country, but they were often the product of some truly poor decision-making.
He’d throw into double coverage with regularity or would just overthrow his receivers entirely.
This year, his accuracy and vision have been much improved, and it’s shown in his turnover rate, as the Daily Press’ David Teel explains.
Logan Thomas has thrown 109 consecutive passes w/out an INT. #Hokies— David Teel (@DavidTeelatDP) October 12, 2013
He’s gone three games and 14 quarters without an interception, which has really helped the Hokies’ offense.
His completion percentage is still only at 55 percent, but if it can keep climbing, he’ll really raise eyebrows.
In 2012, Thomas displayed some truly inconsistent mechanics, particularly when it came to his footwork.
He rarely stepped into his deep passes, and that frequently led to incompletions or the aforementioned overthrows.
Recently, Thomas has made great strides in this area. He had a few communication issues early with receivers like Demitri Knowles, but he’s since improved by leaps and bounds.
The biggest reason for the change is that he’s finally started stepping into his throws, like he does in this clip of a 40-yard bomb to Knowles.
Besides that long ball, Knowles has notched grabs of 45, 28 and 30 yards in the last five weeks, and Thomas’ development is a big reason why.
Last year, Thomas was willing to rely on his arm strength to force these balls down the field. But this season, Loeffler has clearly gotten through to Thomas about combining that arm strength with proper mechanics as well.
All of this isn’t to say that he’s perfect, however.
Room for Improvement
Even though Thomas has looked like a star quarterback in these last few games, he’s still displaying some of his old bad habits at times.
He has a tendency to sail some throws when he gets rushed and get lazy with his footwork. This tends to affect the team the most on screens and short throws, like this one to running back J.C. Coleman.
It’s a designed quick pass that’s meant to essentially function as a running play, but Thomas rushes the throw.
He keeps his feet flat and tries to power the ball to Coleman, and it ends up sailing over the back’s head.
If he’d taken his time, and led Coleman while driving the ball, it could have resulted in a moderate gain.
It will all come with more repetition, but these are the types of plays that scared scouts away in the first place.
But despite a few lingering issues, Thomas is on his way back. He’s made big strides in convincing the non-believers that he’s recovered from 2012 and that will only continue as the season goes on.
As the draft continues to approach, scouts will surely start to notice his improved mechanics and accuracy. When all that’s combined with his imposing size and running ability, he’ll be a hard prospect to resist.
Maybe he won’t go in the first round like some thought he could, but Thomas has proved that he deserves a shot on the big stage.