Braxton Burmeister leading Virginia Tech QB battle
Earlier this offseason, starting QB Hendon Hooker took off via the transfer portal to play at Tennessee. As the team’s primary quarterback for the past two years, Hooker maintained over nine yards per attempt during that span and threw 22 touchdowns to seven interceptions. Hooker was also dangerous on the ground and forced defenses to play 11-on-11 football. Though perhaps not one of the nation’s elite, Hooker was and is a plenty capable Power Five quarterback.
Alas, the Hokies now have to replace him. The obvious starting point is backup QB Braxton Burmeister, which is where the coaching staff seems to be at as well. OC Brad Cornelsen mentioned this week, “Braxton would be the clear-cut (No.1),” in reference to the current state of the QB battle. Cornelsen also lamented that Connor Blumrick, a transfer from Texas A&M, is going to need time to be coached up before he’s ready to compete for the job.
Though it’s tough to replace a starting QB, at least Burmeister has some experience before taking over the full-time job. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound redshirt junior played a bit at Oregon as a freshman in 2017, though not to much avail. In fairness, it’s tough to play as a freshman QB in the PAC.
Burmeister then transferred to Virginia Tech in 2019 (and sat out that season) and got to play again in 2020. With the Hokies this past season, Burmeister threw 84 passes in 2020, completing 48 of them for 687 yards (8.2 YPA), two touchdowns, and a pick. His game against Virginia was particularly impressive, putting up 15-of-22 for 212 yards and a lone touchdown.
Nobody is expecting Burmeister to blow the doors off the ACC next year. Few are probably even expecting him to be as good as Hooker was. Still, the Hokies should be in decent hands relative to the fact they suddenly lost their starting guy to the transfer portal.
LSU grabbed one of last elite 2021 commits, four-star WR Brian Thomas
Four-star WR Brian Thomas was one of the last top-100 recruits to fall in the 2021 class. A few days after National Signing Day, when many of the other remaining players finally chose their landing spot, Thomas made his decision to roll with the LSU Tigers.
Getting a four-star like Thomas is huge in and of itself, but especially so considering all the talent LSU has lost recently. 2021 recruits, as well as some 2020 recruits who played as freshman (namely, TE Arik Gilbert), flooded out the door as LSU’s 2020 season got worse and worse. It became clear to many recruits that the 2019 season was likely a flash in the pan, a perfect storm of circumstances that LSU cannot recapture.
Thomas isn’t worried about any of that. He knows LSU is still a good program, even if the 2019 season was a fluke. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound receiver is set on becoming the next great LSU wide receiver to eventually make a name for themselves in the pros, joining the likes of recent others such as Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Justin Jefferson, and, soon, Ja’Marr Chase.
Thomas brings great size and flexibility to the position. Though a bit lanky (for now), Thomas shows outrageous flexibility and hand-eye coordination for a player his size, similar to a Plaxico Burress type. He should be able to fit in well as a true X-receiver and be a menace on the outside. Thomas’ size and coordination also makes him a true red zone threat, which is always a boon for any offense to have.
Iowa State HC Matt Campbell extended through 2028
Of course Iowa State wants to keep HC Matt Campbell around for as long as possible. Since taking over in 2016, Iowa State has held a 35-28 record and rattled off seven-plus win seasons in each of the past four years. Campbell’s only losing season was his first one, which is expected of a program that had been sub-.500 since 2009.
If all that were not convincing enough, the only coaches in Iowa State history to have higher career win percentages at the school ended their tenures before the Great Depression. Yes, seriously. The “most recent” coach with a higher win percentage than Campbell’s .556 is Charles Meyser, who left after the 1919 season. It is no understatement to say Iowa State has not been this good in a long, long time.
As such, the Cyclones inked Campbell to an extension that is set to keep him around through the 2028 season. Considering Campbell has been with Iowa State for five seasons, signing through the next eight seasons is a huge commitment, even if it’s one he has certainly earned. Barring a massive buyout elsewhere (which is entirely possible, even likely, given Campbell’s success), Iowa State are committed to their man for the long haul.
Oklahoma get jump on 2022, get verbal from five-star 2022 RB Raleek Brown
Of the 30 class of 2022 RBs listed as four- or five-star recruits per 247 Sports’ composite rating, only four of them have already committed. Raleek Brown, now an Oklahoma commit, is among those four and is rated as the best of that early-commit group.
Brown announced his commitment to the Sooners this week, making him their fifth recruit of the class thus far. He is their first RB of the class, as well as their highest-rated recruit and only current five-star recruit.
The 5-foot-8, 185-pound speedster is no joke. What Brown lacks in size and power, he makes up for with blistering speed. Brown is a blur once he takes off. He’s got elite homerun speed and will be a threat to turn any play into a house call, especially under Lincoln Riley’s guidance at Oklahoma. Brown should also be used as a pseudo-wide receiver, or at least gadget player who can line up out wide and be a jet-motion player.
If nothing else, Brown could be a nice change-up from recent Oklahoma RBs. Many of the Sooners’ recent backs have been thicker running backs with north-south play styles. Not that either style is “better,” it’s just interesting to see such a completely different player headed into the mix, especially one of Brown’s raw talent. The possibilities for Riley’s offense just might open up even further once Brown gets to campus.
Trevor Lawrence dazzles at Pro Day
A Pro Day is not going to be what sets Trevor Lawrence over the top. Lawrence is the most heralded prospect at his position since at least Andrew Luck back in 2012. The arm talent, production, pedigree, poise -- the list goes on, Lawrence is as impressive as a QB prospect can get.
It's still nice to see Lawrence crush his Pro Day, though. Whether it was simple five-step-drop throws to dig routes and posts or the trickier "scramble" drill throws, Lawrence was nailing every throw on air and showing off his absolute bazooka of a right arm. With basically every NFL team in attendance, the league got their most recent look at what should be one of the best QBs in the NFL sooner rather than later.
If a Pro Day is merely an event designed for a QB to not mess up, Lawrence certainly passed the test. Though he did measure in a tad skinny at 6-foot-5 and 213 pounds, Lawrence looked every bit as talented and capable as we all already believe him to be.