This would certainly qualify as potentially devastating news for Virginia Tech.
Rumors have been swirling of late regarding the eligibility of Josh Jackson; in fact, one member of the Blacksburg media tweeted Thursday that the starting quarterback “has been suspended indefinitely pending an investigation into an academic issue.”
That same day, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Jackson’s future eligibility is uncertain, with the player’s father indicating that an update on his son’s status is forthcoming.
“As of right now, Josh is still a member of the Virginia Tech football team,” Fred Jackson, a longtime assistant football coach, told the Times-Dispatch. “We’ll know more in two days. It’s too early to talk about this.”
The newspaper added “that, “[w]ith the academic semester recently completed, the school’s compliance office would be reviewing athletes’ eligibility this month.”
As for the rumor that Jackson has been indefinitely suspended? Andy Bitter of the Roanoke Times writes that, “[c]ontrary to reports, Jackson is not suspended indefinitely… and, as of Thursday, still had access to the Hokies’ locker room and practice facilities.” The Times also stated that the father’s two-day timeline for knowing more about his son’s status “is optimistic,” meaning this uncertainty could stretch into next week or, potentially even deeper into June.
As a redshirt freshman last season, Jackson started all 13 games for the 9-4 Hokies. He passed for 2,991 yards and ran for another 324 yards while accounting for 26 touchdowns — 20 passing, six rushing.
If Jackson would be ruled ineligible for the upcoming season, head coach Justin Fuente would then turn to either redshirt freshman Hendon Hooker and redshirt junior Ryan Willis. The former hasn’t attempted a pass at the collegiate level, although the latter, a transfer from Kansas, passed for 2,530 yards on 432 pass attempts while with the Jayhawks. Willis sat out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.