2017 Signing Class Spotlight: A.J. Bush, JUCO QB
The Hokies are hoping junior college transfer A.J. Bush can figure into the quarterback discussion this fall. What does Bush bring to the table?
Junior college transfer quarterback A.J. Bush, formerly of Nebraska and most recently of Iowa Western Community College, committed to the Hokies on January 6th before officially signing with the program on National Signing Day last week.
One of two quarterbacks in the 2017 class, Bush brings one clear trait to the upcoming quarterback competition this fall.
If there’s one thing that is clear from the film on the incoming transfer, it is that he brings good size and speed to the quarterback position, and a competitive running style that should fit well with what Justin Fuente and Brad Cornelson try to do offensively with the Hokies.
Although Bush did not take a snap in his two seasons with Nebraska, the 6’4″ 225 lbs. quarterback carried the ball 95 times for 285 yards and five touchdowns last season with Iowa Western. Although he accumulated a modest 3.0 yards per carry, Bush did lose seven fumbles last season in the process, which is something that will need to be cleaned up moving forward.
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While the athleticism shows prominently in the rushing ability of Bush, he is still considered to be quite raw as a passer. Bush completed only 52 of 114 passes for Iowa Western (45.6%) for 602 yards with only three touchdowns to eight interceptions.
The passing numbers are undoubtedly questionable, but with that being said, there is a precedence in place with Justin Fuente for raw quarterback prospects and the development of those quarterbacks in his system.
As offensive coordinator at TCU, Fuente developed both Andy Dalton, the current starter of the Cincinnati Bengals and Casey Pachall from raw prospects into budding collegiate stars at the quarterback position.
As the head coach at Memphis, it was much of the same for Fuente, as he developed a raw prospect in Paxton Lynch into a first round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to the Denver Broncos.
Whether or not Bush can turn into a quarterback like those mentioned above is one thing, but the proven ability of Fuente to coach up the position is another. Bush will leave Virginia Tech as a better quarterback than when he arrived, but whether or not it amounts to him becoming a starter in his remaining two seasons of eligibility remains to be seen.
It will be a stiff quarterback competition this fall between Bush, redshirt-freshman Josh Jackson, and true freshman Hendon Hooker, but Bush will certainly have as good a chance as any to take the field as QB1 in the opener against West Virginia next September.