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VMI’s Udinski Producing, Progressing

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Reece Udinski already has the numbers; just how far can he go?

Only two FCS quarterbacks have more passing yards than Virginia Military Institute's Reece Udinski; one, Samford's Devin Hodges, is likely to become the division's all-time leading passer this Saturday, while the other, Anthony Lawrence of San Diego, just threw for 556 yards and seven touchdowns in his last game. Udinski, in his first year as the full-time starter for the Keydets, ranks third nationally with 2,988 yards, just under 300 yards per game. The sophomore has been busy; he leads the country with 498 pass attempts, one more than Hodges.

In VMI's last game, Udinski set a new program record for passing yards and tied the record for passing touchdowns. He, statistics following his footsteps, is on a remarkable pace. Udinski is close to the all-time Southern Conference mark of 530 single-season throws, a number he would top, depending on what Hodges does, by duplicating his 33 attempts from last Saturday. Additionally, Udinski will soon become the third league signal caller ever with more than 300 completions in a year. His yardage-production could move into the top ten as well.   

Standout performances for Udinski include 447 passing yards and five touchdowns against The Citadel, 434 yards and three touchdowns against Mercer and 491 yards and four scores against Western Carolina, with almost every school passing and total offense record being reset along the way. Udinski, even as he has adjusted to a starring role, has made an impression on one of college football's most tradition-rich leagues. The focal point for the Keydets, you now need a magnifying glass to sift through all of Udinski's production.   

Overall offensive improvement continues to be made. VMI has more than tripled its scoring average from a season ago and increased its weekly yardage output over 150 yards. The Keydets slot second in the SoCon in passing offense and, with an emphasis on tempo, have run the most plays this year. Udinski's go-to receiver Kris Thornton, also just a sophomore, ranks third in the country with 81 receptions. A foundation is being built.

Though VMI has just one win, the Keydets have their opponent's attention. VMI held a fourth quarter edge over current conference leader East Tennessee State, only to lose by three points. The Keydets fell to Western Carolina by two points the very next week when they were unsuccessful on a conversion try after a touchdown with 22 seconds left. More recently, in the "Military Classic of the South" versus The Citadel, VMI lost, once more, on a failed two-point attempt that would have tied the game late. The Keydets, against Chattanooga, held a two-score lead before ultimately losing by seven.   

This is a team making progress, with Udinski leading the way.

Being the offensive workhorse is nothing new for Udinksi, who finished his prep career, taking his team on an undefeated run to the state championship game, as one of just a handful of players in Pennsylvania high school history with over 4,000 passing yards in a single season. He set a District I record his senior year. Only recently settling in atop the depth chart at VMI, Udinski has stuffed the stat sheet already. More history could be on the horizon. 

For many quarterbacks, potential comes before production. Udinski already has the numbers; just how far can he go? Remember the name for the seasons to come.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports