July 21, 2006

Hokies to nab top target?

Hampton, Va. quarterback Tyrod Taylor is set to make his announcement on Friday evening at 6 P.M. EST at the Crabber's Restaurant in his hometown. Taylor is choosing between Florida and Virginia Tech, but there's not much mystery to this decision. But while we know where Taylor is likely to play his college ball, what kind of impact will he make and can he continue the tradition of ultra-talented quarterbacks from Hampton Roads.

Unless he shocks the world, Taylor will be a Hokie on Friday evening and is the biggest commitment for Virginia Tech since a fellow named Marcus Vick. Of all the great area quarterbacks over the years, Ronald Curry, Michael Vick, Aaron Brooks and Marcus Vick, Taylor reminds me the most of his predecessor, Marcus, at least on the field. Taylor is a pass-first quarterback but he has the ability to hurt defenses with his feet as well. He has the same fluid motion that Marcus did, more developed than Curry, Michael Vick and Brooks at the same stage, and has better technique. Marcus was a bit more explosive as a runner in high school, but Taylor throws better on the run at the same level of development.

If there's a knock on Taylor, it's his size but that won't be a factor. He's 200 pounds now and has plenty of room to pack on more weight. I expect him to top out around 215 pounds on his 6-foot-1 frame. He's sneaky strong for his frame and can take punishment in and out of the pocket without issue. The offensive line at Hampton has been average over the last couple of years and Taylor has been impressive in avoiding the rush, making smart decisions when it comes to tucking the ball and running and he can take a hit. He had numerous passes dropped as a junior, many of which were right on target.

Farrell's Forecast
This should help pad my Forecast percentage as Taylor has not visited Florida and has been considered a Virginia Tech lean since day one. Taylor fits into the Virginia Tech offense perfectly and has the potential to have a Vick-like impact. Unless he shocks the world, Taylor is headed to Blacksburg.

Forecast: Virginia Tech

Confidence Level: High

-- Rivals.com National Analyst Mike Farrell

So where will he fit on the quarterback depth chart at Virginia Tech? Vick is gone but that doesn't leave the Hokies short on quarterbacks. In fact, they have a bunch of them, and young ones at that. Sean Glennon is only a sophomore as is Cory Holt while Ike Whitaker and Greg Boone are both redshirt freshmen. Incoming freshman Cameron Chancellor won't be in the mix right away, but he could be a factor down the line.

This year it seems to be a battle between Glennon and Whitaker for the starting job, but neither has distinguished himself as the leader. By the time Taylor arrives, Glennon and Holt will have two years left, Whitaker and Boone will have three and Chancellor will likely have all four if he redshirts, so there will be quite a bit of competition. However, not everyone is likely to stay at quarterback.

Glennon can only play quarterback, so he'll remain. The others all have the athletic ability to play another position if that's the best fit for them. Boone is the most likely to be moved to another position, possibly tight end, fullback or defensive end, while Holt and Whitaker could possibly play tight end or someplace on defense. It's too soon to see if Chancellor has the same athletic ability as Boone, Holt or Whitaker. Glennon and Whitaker have the most potential so they'll likely be Taylor's main competition.

Every team needs three quarterbacks and every recruit can't be a multiple year starter - but Taylor can be. If we assume that Taylor will redshirt a year, then he'll likely be battling for the backup job as a redshirt freshman if either Glennon or Whitaker establish themselves as the No. 1. If they don't, Taylor will be fighting for a starting role. At the very least, Taylor will be in serious competition for a starting job by his redshirt sophomore season and could be a three-year starter if he develops the way I expect. However, an early departure to the NFL is always a possibility as well, but that's getting well ahead of myself.

The bottom line here is that Taylor was Virginia Tech's No. 1 overall target this recruiting year and a must get. And there's no doubt that he has the ability to be the next top quarterback from the area. Heading into a situation where there will be plenty of competition will only help Taylor develop further.

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