Andrew Ford: 3-star pro-style quarterback; 6’3”, 198 lbs
2013 Stats: 161-of-234, 2,778 yards, 35 touchdowns, six interceptions
While the Hokies will have plenty of options to consider at quarterback from the 2014 class, Andrew Ford seems like the early leader in the clubhouse to get serious starting consideration.
Unlike Durkin and McMillian, Ford may be less impressive as a runner, but his real strength is his accuracy. He can move well in the pocket, but by no means is he a threat to scramble like his fellow 2014 recruits—this is not necessarily a bad thing.
Ford is the first quarterback recruit whom Loeffler brought in personally, and the fact that the passer then enrolled in school early makes it seem like he’s the favorite in this situation.
His style of play would be a departure from Thomas’ style and would even be pretty different from Tyrod Taylor’s methods. Instead, installing Ford at quarterback would require the Hokies to run a very different type of offense.
Loeffler has long said he’d like to run an offense predicated on the run game, but many of his concepts are based on the West Coast offense, which requires an accurate man under center. Saying that this didn’t fit Thomas’ skill type might be an understatement.
Now, with the chance to install his hand-picked recruit in an offense of his choosing, it’s possible he could tab Ford if he impresses early on.
French60wasp of The Key Play came away particularly impressed by Ford’s confidence and accuracy:
I walk away from this film impressed with Ford's maturity, leadership, and especially accuracy. He excels at identifying favorable matchups and he is very mobile in the pocket without losing sight of his receivers down field. He has all the footwork fundamentals necessary to execute Scot Loeffler's multiple offense, and he comes in looking (rather) polished. I still have some concerns about arm strength, and he will need to bulk up a bit if he is going to try to extend plays and take some of the hits he can expect by scrambling in the ACC. With his accuracy and field generalship, it is very easy to envision a former lefty quarterback who gave the Hokies fits; Boise State's Kellen Moore. Moore didn't have a huge arm, but had the confidence and accuracy to throw the ball into spots where his receivers could make plays. Ford has that look to him.
Spring will be vital to Ford’s future. Beamer has always shown a tendency to stick with his veterans (sometimes to the detriment of the team) and has already called Mark Leal the next guy in line at quarterback, per Mark Giannotto of The Washington Post.
But Leal has rarely seen the field, and the only other quarterback on the roster who could vie for the job—Brenden Motley—is an athletic project in the mold of McMillian and might not be a realistic quarterback option.
If Ford stands out early, and Loeffler wants to head in a West Coast direction, the Pennsylvanian could be the man in Blacksburg as early as 2014.
If not, and another veteran wins out, he could still be a contender for the starting quarterback job down the line.