Saturday afternoon in Lane Stadium, two of the best-ever Virginia high school QB products will lead their respective teams when NC State visits Virginia Tech. Tyrod Taylor, a Hampton High School graduate, has paced the Hokies this year and has improved a great deal in his third year. He’s become an effective leader for the Hokie offense, an efficient passer and is always a threat to run on his own, often for big yardage.
For the Wolfpack, Richmond Collegiate graduate Russell Wilson will lead a potent NC State offense. Last year’s All-ACC first team QB has grown quite a bit in his second year under center. In high school, As a senior in 2006, he threw for 3,009 yards, 34 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. Wilson also rushed for 1,132 yards and 18 touchdowns. That year, he was named the conference player of the year, and also named an all-conference and all-state player. He was featured in Sports Illustrated magazine for his performance in the state championship game win.
With a penchant for producing ACC offensive players of the week, it’s pretty easy to tell that Virginia Tech’s players are relishing the thought of playing against the NC State “Just Say No” Defense:
If N.C. State’s first 10 games are any indication, [Tyrod] Taylor’s passing skills will have a chance to shine Saturday. The Wolfpack (4-6, 1-5 ACC) rank 99th nationally in points allowed (30.9 per game) and opposing quarterbacks have completed 63 percent of their passes for 215 yards per game.
Opponents have thrown 17 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.
That’s good for Taylor, who is riding a streak of 81 consecutive passes without a pick.
It’s his second streak of 80-plus this season. Taylor, who ranks 16th nationally in pass efficiency, has thrown 12 touchdowns and only three interceptions for the No. 16 Hokies (7-3, 4-2).
While experience has been the key to his success, youth is the most logical explanation for N.C. State’s struggles. Three of four starters in the secondary are freshmen.
“That’s something we’re going to try to take advantage of,” said Jarrett Boykin, who leads the Hokies with 30 catches for 551 yards.
“We wouldn’t mind having another field day from the wide receivers.”
VT QB Tyrod Taylor was recruited by Frank Beamer and his staff over Russell Wilson, who hails from Richmond. Wilson, for his part, got a feature in his hometown paper. In that article,
Even after Wilson’s impressive first season — 177.7 passing yards per game, 17 touchdowns, one interception — he still had to compete during spring practices with redshirt freshman Mike Glennon, the younger brother of former Tech quarterback Sean Glennon. As Wilson battled for his job, he was recovering after tearing the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the bowl game.
Dana Bible, N.C. State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, wanted Wilson to work on “being able to use all parts of the offense. If the read said to throw it to your second receiver, then that’s where it went to.”
Instead of doing that last season, Wilson might have run. “That was really sort of the plan,” Bible said. “We promoted that in a lot of ways. Not all the times. But we promoted: Use your feet more so. That’s not the case this year. He’s much more complete as a quarterback than he was in year one.”
The article went on to say that Wilson could potentially end his career as one of the most successful QB’s in NC State’s history – heady company considering that State has produced three NFL starters in Philip Rivers, Roman Gabriel and Erik Kramer. All three were highly successful in college, as is Wilson. But does Russell Wilson’s best future lay in baseball? The numbers don’t indicate as much, but NC State head baseball coach Elliott Avent said otherwise last fall. “A lot of scouts said Russell could have been taken in the third or fourth round [of the '07 MLB draft] and were making calls trying to get him to sign,”he said. “I have no doubt he’ll make it to the big leagues.”
As for choosing between baseball and football, Wilson is non-committal at this point. His draft position for Major League Baseball will of course hinge on his play on the diamond for the Wolfpack this spring, and it may well turn out that expectations of Wilson’s move into the professional ranks could be premature. He has stated publicly that money is not a problem for him or his family. He also has said that he would like to be an all star in both football and baseball: “I want to be a Hall of Fame major-league baseball player, and I want to be a Hall of Fame quarterback as well.”