Virginia Tech found its starter on Monday, when head coach Justin Fuente announced that Josh Jackson will start against West Virginia on Sept. 3.
How did Jackson win the job? Well, experience, if you can believe it. It sounds almost comical when you say a redshirt freshman is the most experienced quarterback on Fuente’s roster, but it’s true. Jackson redshirted last season, but he was a part of a three-way race between Jerod Evans and Brenden Motley this time in 2016.
The battle this year featured JUCO transfer A.J. Bush, true freshman Hendon Hooker and Jackson. After naming Jackson the starter, Fuente went on to declare that Bush is the second-stringer for the time being.
Jackson was the bettors’ favorite to land the job heading into this season, but he was going to face true competition from the two newcomers.
When asked recently about what sets him apart from the other two, Jackson mentioned his intellect.
“I like to say I’m pretty smart when it comes to knowing defenses and looks and everything like that,” said Jackson in a press conference on Friday, when Fuente was still saying he had not selected a starter.
Offensive coordinator Brad Cornelson said heading into the season that it was a “toss-up” as to who would start. Cornelson also mentioned that Jackson was smart with the football, a big focus for the Tech offense.
“He executed, he took care of the ball, ultimately. He showed us that ball security is really important to him.” Cornelson said.
On Sept. 3, Jackson will lead the Hokies against West Virginia in Fedex Field.
That’s when the real education begins.