What Ex-Texas Tech QB Michael Brewer Brings to Virginia Tech

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2014

Texas Tech Michael Brewer passes against Oklahoma State during an NCAA college football game in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Former Texas Tech quarterback Michael Brewer announced on Sunday that he will play for Virginia Tech in 2014, ending his all-too-familiar transfer misadventure after nearly two months of bureaucracy, hypocrisy and red tape.

Brewer reported the decision on Twitter:

Set to graduate from TTU in May, Brewer will be eligible to play at Virginia Tech in 2014, but the road he took to Blacksburg wasn't simple. For a long while, the story was more about where he wouldn't play next season than where he would.

Brewer vented to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal during the transfer process about wanting to play at two in-state universities, Texas and TCU, for reasons of post-football job opportunity, but being forbidden to do so by his now-former school:

There were two graduate programs — one at Texas, one at TCU — that best suited my future as far as receiving a master’s degree goes. And we also felt like whenever I was done playing football and done with college that being in Austin with the connections I have with my family and being in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with the connections I have with my family up there, that would be best suited for me as far as getting a job and all that.

By them denying me the right to play anywhere in the state of Texas or in the Big 12, my family can’t really come watch me play and be involved in the last two years of my college experience, which is disappointing. 

When they called to tell me that I had been denied unanimously, I asked them why and they couldn’t come up with a reason, which leads me to believe it was 100 percent football-related. It’s unfortunate I can’t go get my master’s degree that’ll help me out the best in my future.

That was the dominant story about Brewer since he announced his decision to transfer in mid-January—Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer wrote a particularly good piece on the hypocrisy of his restrictions—but now he can finally focus on the future, on what he might bring to the field in 2014.

What, exactly, is that? It's hard to say for sure. A 3-star recruit coming out of Lake Travis High School in 2011, Brewer threw just 58 passes during his two seasons in Lubbock. 

The good news is that he completed 41 of those passes, good for a rate of better than 70 percent. The bad news is that all but two of those passes came in the second half of games, typically in spot duty, garbage time and other less meaningful situations.

Battle-tested, he is not.

That does not make him incapable, though. Far from it. In fact, on this current Virginia Tech team, it actually makes him the most game-worn quarterback on the roster. No other player has thrown more than 35 passes in college.

Mark Leal played—and struggled—in the 2013 Sun Bowl.
Mark Leal played—and struggled—in the 2013 Sun Bowl.Victor Calzada/Associated Press/Associated Press

According to Jake Trotter of ESPN.com, Brewer was the tentative favorite to start for Texas Tech at the beginning of last offseason, but a summer back injury sidelined him for fall camp and the first month of the regular season. This allowed freshmen Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb a chance to see the field, play well, supplant Brewer on the depth chart and make him less vital; more expendable.

Now Brewer joins the fracas of quarterbacks vying to replace Logan Thomas at VT, chief among them fifth-year senior Mark Leal. With two years of eligibility remaining, Brewer knows he'll have to compete to earn playing time with a new group of coaches and teammates.

"Nothing is guaranteed. I’ve got to come in and earn it," Brewer told Andy Bitter of the Roanoke Times. "But both the coaches and I thought it was a good situation and a great opportunity."

Brewer is only 6'1'', but so is Leal. Some of the younger candidates to win the job have more impressive physical profiles—sophomore Brenden Motley and freshman Chris Durkin are both 6'4''—but in terms of talent and BCS-level experience, Brewer and Leal, the only two players on the team to have taken a snap at this level, are the rightful favorites to emerge from fall camp atop the depth chart.

Dec 31, 2013; El Paso, TX, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Frank Beamer on the sidelines during the third quarter against the UCLA Bruins in the 2013 Sun Bowl at Sun Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

That holds doubly true in a must-win year for Frank Beamer—a thought that might have been heresy to write 24 months ago (and arguably still should be).

The Hokies have failed to meet expectations for two consecutive seasons since making the 2012 Sugar Bowl, and a third straight year would be bordering on Mack-Brown-at-Texas levels of unrest.

Even a legend can be pushed out the door.

If the younger, less seasoned options are not ready to go, Brewer gives Virginia Tech another habituated FBS-level quarterback to compete with Leal in fall camp. He is an accurate passer, as evidenced by the aforementioned completion percentage, supremely confident in his arm, his reads and his progressions.

In high school, Brewer was coached by Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris. He just spent a year learning under Kliff Kingsbury, who has proven to be one of the best developers of young quarterbacks in college football (see: Manziel, Johnny). Their relationship was rocky, at times, especially toward the end, but Brewer still got to learn from Kingsbury, to watch him develop a walk-on freshman such as Mayfield into a quality Big 12 starter.

That mentorship will be important as Brewer heads to Blacksburg, and hopefully he can impart some of Morris and Kingsbury's knowledge to those, like Leal, who have only known the guidance of Scot Loeffler, Bryan Stinespring and/or Mike O'Cain since arriving at college.


Competence begets competence: If Brewer was wise enough to glean what he could in his time under Morris and Kingsbury, it could spark a renaissance under center for a team that desperately needs the reawakening. Even if Brewer is not able to win the starting job, a few tips and tricks here or there could make Leal look far better than he did in relief of Thomas during the Sun Bowl.

At the very least, Brewer can provide all of these intangibles. At the most, he can win the starting job and become a quality starting quarterback, a leader capable of managing the offense and riding a still-loaded defense to the top of the ACC Coastal Division.

Does anyone really think Duke will repeat as champions? Even despite how much talent it returns?

Brewer could be an important piece to the puzzle.

Follow Brian Leigh @BLeighDAT


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