Tech’s Joshua Nesbitt: The most valuable collegiate player?

Four Hokies on him, and Joshua Nesbitt's still not down. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

It takes at least four Hokies to handle Joshua Nesbitt. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Ankle surgery having precluded his participation in spring practice, Joshua Nesbitt had the chance to study Georgia Tech from the sideline. And what he saw, he said, was a team just as talented as last season’s ACC champs. Which is, not to put too fine a point on it, a big ol’ fib.

Because the Jackets with Nesbitt on the sideline aren’t one-tenth as impressive as Tech is when he’s on the field. He’s not quite the best player in college football, but no one means more to a program than this quarterback does to his.

Paul Johnson’s stylized option-based spread starts with Nesbitt, and often it ends there. He has to make every read, every pitch, every throw. He also has to take 30 hits a game, and therein lies the issue. With backup Jaybo Shaw having transferred to Georgia Southern, Tech can’t afford to lose Nesbitt for a single snap. But even a man as conspicuously robust as this — he appears bigger than his listed 217 pounds — is going to feel some pain.

The good news: Nesbitt said last week he feels better than he has “since high school.” The bad: Every Tech opponent won’t be so concerned with defending the option this season as with simply smacking Nesbitt.

But here’s the thing: Nesbitt is capable of smacking back. He has a linebacker’s approach to playing quarterback. If you come hard at him, he’ll come harder at you. Apologies in advance for again using the I-word — “indomitable” — but with Nesbitt no other adjective is half as applicable.

Said Nesbitt, speaking of Tech: “We understand what it means to fight until the clock says zero.”

Much of this comes from Pugnacious Paul, the head coach. Nearly as much emanates from the quarterback he inherited on arrival, a young man after PJ’s fighting heart.

And these Jackets, picked to finish third in the ACC Coastal Division, figure to need all the orneriness they can muster. They lost four gifted juniors to the NFL, and their road schedule — trips to Kansas, North Carolina, Clemson, Virginia Tech and Georgia — is a fright. Or it would be, were Nesbitt the sort to get nettled.

“People are looking for us not to be the same team,” Nesbitt said. “We know we’ve got a bull’s eye on us. … We need to prove everybody wrong.”

Someone asked if Johnson imparts that very message to his players. “Only every time we talk,” Nesbitt said, and then he laughed.

Another source of some amusement: The two letters at the shank of his first name. He was born Joshua Leonard Nesbitt, but for 21 years he answered to Josh. He and his mother decided to ask Tech to list his name as Joshua for his senior season: “More businesslike,” he said.

Which isn’t to say everyone has gotten the memo. Heck, sometimes his mom even slips and forgets the “u” and the “a.” “It doesn’t faze me,” said Nesbitt, who isn’t easily fazed.

And what does Tech’s coach call his quarterback? “He can call me whatever he likes.”

We know Johnson has the utmost faith in his offense — he should; he designed the thing — but even a man as proud as PJ will acknowledge that an option cannot run itself. Somebody has to take the ball from center and send it the right way and absorb those hits, and there’s nobody on Tech’s campus who can do it the way Nesbitt does.

Still, the cult of Joshua hasn’t yet found national traction. We saw it again this week when the assembled ACC media voted him sixth in its preseason player-of-the-year balloting. Yeah, that’s part of being an option quarterback in 21st century football, but still … sixth!

Maybe his low standing had something to do with Nesbitt skipping the ACC’s media days in Greensboro. Both Tech and conference officials implored him to come, but he was adamant. He had to attend a family reunion in Miami. (And no, it wasn’t an agent-funded soiree.)

And there’s just another reason to like Joshua Nesbitt. In an age where hype knows no restraints — hello, LeBron James — the most valuable Jacket had better things to do than talk about himself. Talk about a throwback.

555 comments Add your comment

david

July 28th, 2010
11:41 am

seriously? the guy is a joke

30-24 Dawgs - We Run This State!

July 28th, 2010
11:44 am

I vote for Jaybo Shaw – oh wait, he’s gone!

kevin

July 28th, 2010
11:44 am

Sure, he can run the ball, but I have seen better arms on chairs.

Tree

July 28th, 2010
11:45 am

30-24 Dawgs - We Run This State!

July 28th, 2010
11:45 am

I vote for Jaybo Shaw, oh wait, what’s that? He’s gone?

UGA defenders sure will miss him!

Herschel Talker

July 28th, 2010
11:45 am

MB:

His passing on that last drive against my Dawgs sure was “most valuable” for us. He passes like Lamar and his javelin in Revenge of the Nerds (apropo reference, I suppose).

HT

HugoStiglitz

July 28th, 2010
11:50 am

Good blog. If we lost Nesbitt we would be screwed. There is no way our backups can reproduce the same kind of leadership and decision making he does on the field. The only reason Tech fans have not been bent out of shape about losing Dwyer and Thomas is because we still have the most important player coming back. Hopefully whoever takes over for him next year is learning all they can from him.

Coach Paul's Johnson

July 28th, 2010
11:52 am

Let’s face it folks, the wreck is staring down the face of a 7-5 season with losses to Kansas, North Carolina, Clemson or Miami, Virginia Tech and 9 out of 10 to THE University of Georgia.

RunningDog

July 28th, 2010
11:52 am

Good to see you back doing what you truly love: gushing over Tech. (Just poking you a bit. Good article.)

TheTaxJacket

July 28th, 2010
11:53 am

Don’t listen to the UGAGers Marc. This was a fine article!!!

How could they leave THE ROBOT off the preseason All-ACC list??? He was first team at the end of last season; what has changed since then? Was it those spiffy Christian Ponder notebooks the conference gave out? This is some kind of crazy newspaper logic!!!

*** NESBITT FOR HEISMEN ***

(((( 45 – 42 ))))

POAD

July 28th, 2010
11:53 am

All dawgs posting on the TECH blog I love it. What have you guys seen MURRY do that impresses you guys so much? You better worry about you lil man surviving the season.

Mike Jay

July 28th, 2010
11:55 am

Even as a Dawg fan I find it hard not to like Nesbitt. Sure he can’t throw the ball but he doesn’t need to…usually. Great, tough football player that is a fine leader as well. If I were Bumble Bee fan I would certainly have that picture hanging up somewhere…it is awesome.

DDPO

July 28th, 2010
11:55 am

UF’s defenders sure will miss Logan Gray… I hope CMR lets him air a couple out again against us. That kid couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat.

I think Nesbitt is a tough SOB.

juvenal

July 28th, 2010
11:55 am

hope he reads these comments….if he has worked on hitting the open receiver when the D stacks the line, watch out…as for the arm, just talked to someone whose son played him in HS, threw it beyond the endzone from his 45, accuracy is the issue…

Let's Go

July 28th, 2010
11:56 am

Most valuable collegiate player – Far From It. He may be Georgia Tech’s MVP but I believe anyone could run this team if they have a week or 2 to get ready for an opponent. He’s a system QB and I’m sure Tech has a couple more guys that can play just as good, IN THE SYSTEM.

GTZ09

July 28th, 2010
11:56 am

Thanks for the great write up MB. I can only hope the younger QBs are learning from Nesbitt on how to handle themselves on and off the field. This guy is the heart and soul of the team and has the mindset of a champion. There is nobody I’d rather have with the ball in his hands when the game on the line.

Go Jackets

cobbjacket

July 28th, 2010
11:57 am

Biggest concern next year will be replacing Joshua’s intensity, drive and decision making under pressure. Any decent qb can run the nuts and bolts, it’s the intangibles that make Nesbitt special.

Brian

July 28th, 2010
11:57 am

I’d take him over everyone else in the nation to run this offense. He is making better decisions everyday, is as tough and competitive as they come, and he led the nation in yards/attempt last year. Seems to me that is about as valuable as a quarterback can be. Go Jackets.

POAD

July 28th, 2010
11:58 am

All you need to see is Nesbitt ripping the ball back from the FSU player last year. that says it all. to you dawgs your past 3 QB’s would have waved at the defender has he ran the other way. Nesbitt Laughed and said GIVE ME MY DAMN FOOTBALL BACK you FSU P…Y!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley, Tyler Linderman. Tyler Linderman said: RT @MarkBradleyAJC: Georgia Tech quarterback Joshua Nesbitt: The most valuable collegiate player http://bit.ly/akFatx [...]

HugoStiglitz

July 28th, 2010
12:02 pm

Let’s Go, Jaybo Shaw had several chances to play in the system and he never ran the team anywhere near as well as Nesbitt. He also came from a high school that ran the same offense so he had plenty of experience in it. In 2008 Calvin Booker got a start and almost lost to Gardner Webb. Its not as easy to run this offense as you think.

Ted M

July 28th, 2010
12:02 pm

David you must have never seen him play.

Paul in RDU

July 28th, 2010
12:02 pm

Mark – I agree with you about Nesbitt’s value to GT. He is the key guy and when he was out last year there was a huge dropoff. Hopefully GT will have a better back up than Shaw this year because it his highly likely that Nesbitt will miss some plays.

Mike Jay

July 28th, 2010
12:03 pm

POAD,

This is not a Tech blog, it is a Mark Bradley Blog. I don;t read the Tech blog but most of Bradley and shlutzies blogs irregardless of the subject matter.

cobbjacket

July 28th, 2010
12:04 pm

Between the FSU play and the ot win against WF, I don’t think there is a more impressive warrior in college football. Has absolutely no fear and supreme confidence. Great combination.

Go Jackets

July 28th, 2010
12:07 pm

UGA fans-

No one asked you. I’m sorry that you have trouble handling any second where all of the media’s attention isn’t directed at you and your players, but this article was written for Ga Tech fans. Joshua is a great guy and a helluva player. Couldn’t be prouder he attends the best school in the state.

POAD

July 28th, 2010
12:09 pm

MIKE JAY yes it is BRADLEY’s blog but the subject is TECH. And if were a UGA sorty you guy would crying that Tech people were on here talking crap too. I don’t care who is own what blog. I just can’t stand BILL “THE BABY” KING.

F-105 Thunderchief

July 28th, 2010
12:10 pm

Nesbitt is an excellent leader and runs the ground part of the offense really well. I hope he can get the passing game clicking this season. I thought that was his forte coming in.

Curious George

July 28th, 2010
12:11 pm

Wouldn’t Damon Evans currently be in the lead for the nation’s most prolific collegiate PLAYER ?

UGA=Plumbers

July 28th, 2010
12:11 pm

Must be a slow day with no wrenches to turn if all the leg humpers are on the boss man’s computer.

Brock

July 28th, 2010
12:11 pm

Anyone on here whether a dog fan or not dissing Nesbitt has little or no class at all. Why can’t you guys just tip your hat and move on, or post something with a little substance every now and then. The pissing matches are getting boring.

captain Midnight.

July 28th, 2010
12:11 pm

Mark on another subject. These braves are dead in the water unless they get another solid bat. Troy Glaus had one good month but he appears to have run out of gas. Something you and no one else talks about is that Chipper has been great and will go to the hall of fame but he is over the hill and no where near what he used to be. The announcers keep saying if this one can get on so Chipper can get to bat well quite frankly I have got to where I dread Chipper coming up with runners on or not. Your thoughts

gt45

July 28th, 2010
12:12 pm

You can’t find a finer young man in college ball. He’ll get his props! Too bad UGAGers can’t find something negative to say about him like they can their own! Go Jackets-

Reality

July 28th, 2010
12:13 pm

Dawgs here: Win your own little division first, and they you can say something!

Nesbitt is very valuable. However, I disagree that we cannot afford for him to miss snaps. Since he was out all summer, the back up got plenty of experience. If Tech gets a comfortable lead in any game, expect to see him on the field.

juice sourcer

July 28th, 2010
12:13 pm

Saw him will Tech to two wins vs Clemson last year. He’s a beast and certainly MVP…no question.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

July 28th, 2010
12:14 pm

Herschel Talker- great reference to Lamar!!!
TaxJacket- seriously?? the robot?? heisman?? a score from 2yrs ago?? and you wonder why UGA fans laugh hysterically at gt?? thanks for making my day.

Delbert D.

July 28th, 2010
12:14 pm

Does Nesbitt wear QB shoulder pads, RB pads or what? Back in the old (very old) days, I wore lineman’s pads, because I played DE more than OE. One of our ends wore back’s pads. He could extend his arms, while I could hardly extend my arms vertically more that 90 degrees at the elbow. Without pads, I could throw > 50 yards in the air, but with pads, about 15 with any kind of accuracy.

George Stein

July 28th, 2010
12:14 pm

Ignore the fools who dismiss Nesbitt. The honest UGA fans are pretty open about how highly they think of him, even if he plays for their rival.

Angus

July 28th, 2010
12:15 pm

While the preseason POY voting doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, it’s still insulting.

Joshua finished 2nd last year, CJ’s gone, and Joshua drops to 6th?

George Stein

July 28th, 2010
12:15 pm

Tax Jacket – Gotta knock it off with the 2008 score.

DeepDiver

July 28th, 2010
12:17 pm

Isn’t a surname your last name? The ‘u’ and the ‘a’ would have been credited to his given name, no?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

July 28th, 2010
12:17 pm

i’ll give josh or joshua (does the “ua” at the end really make a difference) his props, but in no way, is he college’s most valuable, maybe to gt.

Worm

July 28th, 2010
12:18 pm

Nesbitt is a warrior..That said, I’m not sure he’s any more valuable than Wilson at NC State,Parker at Clemson, or Ponder at F$U. All these teams would be in trouble if their QBs went down.

former star, current expert

July 28th, 2010
12:18 pm

Having played at the highest level, as a third string tight end on one of the better junior varsity teams in South Georgia, I have extensive experience in breaking down game film that the average blogger might not have.

I’ll avoid using terminology that may confuse the average blogger, but suffice to say, based on my breaking down of GT game film, is that Nesbitt is what is known as a “dual threat” meaning he can both run with the ball and pass the ball.

One key to look for is the number of times he will fake a handoff, then keep the ball for himself on a running play. A lot of average fans underestimate this aspect of his game, but it’s an integral part of what makes him effective.

Scott W.

July 28th, 2010
12:18 pm

Hi, I’m Mark Bradley, I’ll be your patronizer today. Tomorrow I’ll be UGA’s.

George Stein

July 28th, 2010
12:18 pm

I’m ringing the bulls–t bell on Delbert D. No way can you throw a football more than 50 yards. Try again, chief.

George Stein

July 28th, 2010
12:19 pm

Thanks current expert. That was a helluva breakdown.

dawgcrzy

July 28th, 2010
12:25 pm

not even the best qb in atl….ga state has a better qb

former star, current expert

July 28th, 2010
12:25 pm

Thank you George Stein. I can’t say I had the greatest physical tools, so I had to rely on extensive preparation to compete at the highest levels of junior varsity football in South Georgia.

Glory Glory

July 28th, 2010
12:25 pm

He could be considered the MVP depending on how you look at it. Yes, because of that Mickey Mouse offense they run, it is centered around the mobility of the QB. He does indeed have mobility. If he were to go down, who the h*** does Tech have to execute that Mickey Mouse offense behind him?

When he is gone, Tech will be right back where they belong……. un-talked about.

*** Before ANY Tech Nerds sit here and say “is that the same “Mickey Mouse” offense that averages 400 yard rushing a game….. blah blah blah”…… understand that if ANY team did nothing but run the ball with trick plays EVERY. SINGLE. DOWN., they too would have padded stats.

Bottom line, I really really really hope Nesbitt gets hurt, badly, early in the season, which is VERY possible considering he will run the ball 61.7% of the time. Unfortunately there just arent any big LBs in the ACC to do it….. but somebody will hopefully thump his skull or land on that ankle in a big way.

Am I classless??? Absolutely!! So don’t bother telling me I am. I do NOT speak for all of UGA fans, just myself, who hates Tech and Nesbitt beyond belief. GO DAWGS!!!!!

{{{{{30-24}}}}} hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!