It is amazing to think that Geno Smith's legacy at West Virginia is still incomplete. The Miramar, Fla. native isn't even at the halfway point of his senior season and he already could be considered the best quarterback to ever don the old gold and blue. While WVU doesn't have the storied tradition that can be claimed by some other programs such as Alabama, Michigan or Notre Dame, the Mountaineers have no shortage of talented quarterbacks.
In fact, the Mountaineers' current athletic director is even near the top of the list. Oliver Luck was the first-ever career 5,000-yard passer at WVU, playing back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He even went on to be selected in the second round of the NFL draft by the Houston Oilers. Another former professional quarterback, Marc Bulger, is high on the list of all-time greats at West Virginia as well.
The former St. Louis Ram was the all-time WVU leader in passing attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns, before being passed by Smith. Bulger was even a two-time pro bowler in St. Louis. The best quarterback of the 2000s for West Virginia has to be Pat White. The Daphne, Ala. native was a top-flight Heisman Trophy contender and, along with WVU legends Owen Schmitt and Steve Slaton, made up one of the most dangerous Mountaineer backfields of all-time and he has the best record of any WVU signal caller.
He also is the only quarterback in the NCAA to ever win four bowl games. More impressively, two of them were BCS bowls. Before this season, White was probably in a tie with Major Harris for the best Mountaineer signal caller ever. Harris was a bona fide Heisman contender, an All-American and a College Football Hall of Fame inductee. He also led WVU to an undefeated regular season in 1988 and a Fiesta Bowl berth in which the Mountaineers competed unsuccessfully for a national title against top-ranked Notre Dame.
However, Harris was injured throughout almost the entirty of the game. If it weren't for that misfortune, Harris might have had the Mountaineers crowned national champions. However, none of these great quarterbacks were ever able to win a national title or the Heisman Trophy—something Smith has a chance of doing this season.. At this point, Smith has to be considered the outright favorite to win the Heisman, while the Mountaineers are a legitimate dark horse national title contender.
Last week against Baylor, Smith had probably the best game of any Mountaineer ever. He went 45-of-51 passing with 687 yards of total offense and eight touchdowns through the air. If he continues on this torrid pace, he will make an absolute mockery of the current WVU record book. He currently holds the single-season record for passing yards at 4,385, with Bulger at No. 2 with 3,607. Harris in his career totaled 5,173 yards. This season, Smith is on pace for 5,184. He will also certainly bulldoze the school mark for passing touchdowns.
He is currently tied with Bulger for the top spot after tossing 31 touchdowns last season. In his career, Bulger threw 59 total touchdowns. After four games, Smith is on pace for 60 touchdowns this season alone. All of the statistics are impressive, sure, but what's been most impressive about Smith is his efficiency. He currently leads the nation with a completion percentage of 83.4 and hasn't thrown an interception yet this year.
In his career he has thrown just 15, giving him the lowest interception percentage of any of the legendary WVU quarterbacks. With 1,116 career attempts, only about one in 100 of Smith's throws end up in the hands of the opposition. Smith has been doing all of this during a 2012 season in which West Virginia is directly in the spotlight with its move to the Big 12 Conference.
West Virginia's next six opponents have all been ranked in the top 25 at some point this season, so that spotlight will only grow larger and brighter as Smith has more and more opportunities to lead the Mountaineers to a Big 12 title and even into the national title picture. With that, his Heisman campaign will grow louder and louder and his place as the greatest quarterback in West Virginia history will become indisputable.