By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
If anyone was trying to convince Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas to forego his senior season, Marshall coach Doc Holliday might wish he would have listened.
“Many people thought that if he comes out a year ago, that he would be a top four pick in the NFL draft,” Holliday said. “He's a very talented guy.”
The quarterback, who has been compared to Carolina Panthers signal caller Cam Newton because of his size, is, indeed, back for his senior year, trying to lead the Hokies back to prominence after a disappointing 2012.
Marshall (2-1) will visit Virginia Tech at noon Saturday in Blacksburg, Va. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU.
Thomas’ numbers this season do not overwhelm — he has completed just 47 of 100 passes for 517 yards and three touchdowns, and he has been intercepted four times. But Thomas has already left his mark on the Tech program and continues to climb the career charts.
The 6-foot-6, 254-pound Lynchburg, Va., native already holds the school record with 513 completions, is second in passing yards (6,573), third in total offense (7,640) and fifth in touchdown passes (40).
Last season — one in which the Hokies were just 7-6, thanks to a narrow 13-10 win over Rutgers in the Citrus Bowl — Thomas led Tech in rushing with 524 yards and nine touchdowns, becoming the first quarterback to do so since Bobby Owens in 1965.
Thomas also is third at Tech in career rushing TDs by a quarterback with 20 — Michael Vick played only two seasons.
Thomas and Vick are successful running QBs for different reasons. Vick is fast and elusive, while Thomas is simply a load to bring down.
“He looks like a big tight end out there, but he can run,” Holliday said. “They say he’s 6-foot-6, but he looks bigger than that when he gets out on the field with the uniform on. He’s impressive and he makes all the throws.”
Fundamentals are in order when trying to bring down Thomas, who had a rushing touchdown against the Herd in a 30-10 win in Huntington in 2011.
“Arm tackles don’t work,” Holliday said. “You have to wrap him up. East Carolina had him sacked a couple of times and couldn’t get him on the ground (in a 15-10 Hokies win last Saturday). He is a big, physical guy and you better wrap him up and you better get more than one guy there. He is a physical player.”
Holliday said it isn’t really possible to simulate Thomas’ size in practice. Marshall backup quarterback Blake Frohnapfel is 6-6, but Thomas outweighs him by nearly 30 pounds.
“Number one, you just try to simulate what he does, like we do every week,” Holliday said. “Every day in practice, we go good-on-good. We are just working extremely hard to get better.”
— E-mail: gfauber