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Brennan Armstrong: ‘Excited’ about Elliott, wants to run it back

brennan armstrong
Brennan Armstrong talks with reporters after Virginia introduced Tony Elliott as the new head football coach. Photo by Crystal Graham.

Great news, Virginia fans: Brennan Armstrong made it clear Monday that he’ll either be back at Virginia next fall or in the NFL.

Translation: he’s back.

Speaking moments after the school introduced former Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott as the new head coach, Armstrong, who has thrown for 4,444 yards and 31 TDs this season, said he thinks Elliott is “going to run a great program.”

“I’m really excited to see it,” said Armstrong, a redshirt junior who technically has two years of eligibility remaining. “I’m not going to transfer. It’s either here or the NFL.”

Coming off his huge junior year, Armstrong would still only figure to be at best a late-round 2022 draft pick, which would have him competing for a QB2 or practice-squad spot, most likely.

Armstrong would almost certainly be on the short list of preseason top contenders for the 2022 Heisman, should be return for his senior season.

More importantly, for his NFL prospects, he’d have the spring, fall camp, and then another full season to showcase his arm, escapability, his ability to read defenses and how he can perform under pressure.

It’s not hard to see Armstrong, if he has a 2022 anything comparable to his 2021, being a first-, second- or third-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft.

The higher you get taken in the draft, obviously, that means more money, and more opportunity.

You should expect to see some growth from Armstrong, who came to Virginia as a three-star recruit out of high school, backed up Bryce Perkins for two years, and made a quantum leap in productivity from Year 1 to Year 2 as the starting QB in Robert Anae’s offense in 2021.

Elliott has yet to narrow down the approach he will want to use on offense, but there are similarities in what he preferred at Clemson – two backs, no huddle, spread – and the Anae approach that this year was heavy on spread and tempo.

Armstrong used his opportunity to chat with reporters to make the case for his QB coach, Jason Beck, to get a look at being retained on Elliott’s staff.

“He’s been with me for four years now, so I, you know, I’d love to finish, you know, one last season with him. I think me and him click well, he understands me, I understand him,” Armstrong said.

The focus in the here and now is on the Fenway Bowl matchup with SMU later in the month, but then there’s something concurrent going on at the same time.

Armstrong is busy trying to re-recruit teammates who’d entered the transfer portal, most notably, second-team All-America center Olusegun Oluwatimi, who was noncommittal Monday when asked several times which way he is leaning in terms of his future.

Armstrong would expect to have wideout Dontayvion Wicks (1,203 receiving yards in 2021) back, along with speedy 6’7” redshirt sophomore Lavel Davis Jr., who missed the 2021 season while recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the spring.

Armstrong would love to see Elliott incorporate as much of the base offense that he’s worked in under Beck and Anae the past four years into his plans for 2022.

“I hope so. I mean, something similar. I think we ran it well,” Armstrong said. “I think we have, you know, the skill position (guys) to do it. Depending on how we can figure out our line, because we had a great O line last year to protect me, so that’s another thing that, you know, we’ll have to, you know, maybe grab people from the portal or, you know, hopefully who stays and who doesn’t stay. So that’s all going to be up to be determined. But I think we’ve still got a lot of weapons that we’ve had, and it worked.”

One more year. Armstrong thinks Elliott can be the guy to take Virginia to the next level.

“He just, you know, he fits us well,” Armstrong said. “I think he has the right mentality, and he has the credentials and experience to take this place, you know, to the next step. We went from 9-3 to COVID year to 6-6. It’s just waiting to go to that next step. And I just think he has the experience. He knows what it looks like, and I’m excited to see where it goes.”

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press