August 18, 2016
Jackson on the rise in battle for starting quarterback job
The true freshman continues to progress and has received praise from Justin Fuente for his hard work
Quotes from Thursday's post-practice news conference

Quotes from quarterback Josh Jackson

Quotes from coach Justin Fuente

By Jimmy Robertson

BLACKSBURG – The University of Michigan coaching staff offered Josh Jackson a scholarship, but as an athlete. He wanted to be a quarterback.

Now he finds himself as serious contender for the starting job roughly eight months after arriving on Virginia Tech’s campus.

Following the Hokies’ practice Thursday evening, Jackson met with media members for the polished young man expressed confidence in his abilities, telling that he wasn’t surprised at head coach Justin Fuente’s revelation that Jackson was in the mix for the job along with Brenden Motley and Jérod Evans.

“Recently, I have been trying to get better every day and see what happens with that,” Jackson said. “It’s not that I was surprised. I was just happy to hear that my hard work has paid off and everything. I thought it was cool that it happened.”

It marked the latest step in what has been a rapid climb for one of the Hokies’ top recruits in the 2016 class. The Ann Arbor, Michigan product accounted for more than 2,000 yards of offense and 28 touchdowns as a senior at Saline High School. He had committed to the previous Tech staff, and in particular, Scot Loeffler, who played at Michigan and knew Jackson’s dad, Fred, who coached at Michigan during Loeffler’s time there.

Jackson said he never really considered going anywhere else after Frank Beamer retired and Loeffler left to go to Boston College as the offensive coordinator. He put together a backup plan, but he remained patient, as Tech went through its hiring process – a process that landed Fuente.

“I just wanted to make sure I had a backup plan because I didn’t know who the head coach was going to be. I had to make sure that I was ok regardless of what happened, and that’s what you have to do during recruitment. Once I saw that it was [Justin] Fuente, there really wasn’t much hesitation at all. Once I got here and got to know him, it was pretty easy.

“As soon as he was hired, he called me. I talked to him and it was simple. It wasn’t really much of a transition. It was like, ‘OK, here’s a new guy. It’s still Virginia Tech football. It still has a great tradition.’ So I was perfectly fine with it.”

Jackson possesses a skill set that would appear to be a fit for the Hokies’ offense. He can run, and while he doesn’t necessarily possess a gun for an arm, he gets the ball where it needs to go. He also is smart.

Therein lies the reason for his rapid ascent. He understands the offense after having participated in spring practice. Once he understands defenses, he figures to ascend even more.

“I have been really starting to understand the offense,” Jackson said. “I have been able to slow down, and I am to help other guys out. I know it well enough right now that I am able to help other guys and know my job. I think that has really helped me manage the offense.”

Fuente has a good idea of who fits in where at most of the positions on the squad, but quarterback isn’t necessarily one of them. This competition figures to run all the way into the week before the Liberty game.

Jackson doesn’t think that far ahead. He just tries to get better each day and hopes that gets him into the starting role. If not, then he will take a redshirt season.

“It wouldn’t be a disappointment,” Jackson said. “I’m doing the best I can. I’m the young guy. I’m trying to be the best that I can be. If that means I get on the field, then it does. If it doesn’t, then I’ll be fine with it.”

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