Drafted: Pick 7 of the 1st round by Jacksonville
Positives: Thick-framed athlete with excellent arm strength...Has a very good grasp of the passing game, calling half of his plays at the line of scrimmage...Tough leader who will take a crunching hit and play with pain (see 2002 Akron contest)...Shows good quickness and fluidity in his pass set up...Very good at reading defenses, showing patience as he picks apart the zones...Shows quickness and snap in his release...Very accurate, as his ball is generally on target...Has good overall touch, timing and placement...His composure and poise allows him to rally the team from behind...Has enough mobility to roll away, step up and avoid the pass rush...Can move the chains and break tackles on the move... Has a nice over-the-top throwing motion and rarely throws into coverage...Has the frame to sit in and take the hit on the blitz and still make the throw...Carries the ball numbers-high and delivers it with proper mechanics, squaring his shoulders, getting his hips into it and throwing off his front foot consistently...Shows good follow-through as the ball comes off his hand with a tight spiral.
Negatives: Not a good runner, using his bulk to break tackles...Operates mostly out of the shotgun, but still has good quickness in his setup...Needs to take a little heat off his short passes, as he tries to outmuscle the ball, at times, but also must learn to put some air under the ball when his receivers break open...Has a history of minor ailments, but will play with pain (left leg needs further evaluation; see 2002 injury report)...Needs to look off his primary targets, as he tends to lock on and not spot his alternative options.
One of the most prolific passers in college football annals, setting Mid-American Conference career records for passing yards and total offense...Three-year starter who was the unquestioned leader of one of the most explosive offenses in the country...Hit on 939 of 1442 passes (65.1%) for 11,903 yards, 89 touchdowns and only 28 interceptions, while amassing 12,090 yards of total offense on 1632 plays, ranking second on the school's all-time record lists behind Chad Pennington (1026 of 1619 passes for 13,143 yards, 115 touchdowns and 13,048 yards in total offense, 1995-99)...His 11,903 yards passing broke the MAC career-record of 11,299 by Tim Lester of Western Michigan (1996-99) while his 12,090 yards in total offense set another conference all-time record.
All-Mid American Conference first-team selection...Joined Bowling Green's Erik White (1991-92) and Brian McClure (1984-85) to earn the MAC's Vern Smith Leadership Award twice in a career...Became the first repeat winner as the conference's Offensive Player of the Year in ten seasons...Finalist for the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Year Award...Semi-finalist for the Davey O'Brien Quarterback Award...Started twelve games, completing 331 of 491 passes (67.4%) for 4268 yards, 30 touchdowns and 10 interceptions...Only Tony Peterson (4902 yards in 1987) threw for more yards in a season for Marshall...Scored three times on 37 carries...Gained 4267 yards in total offense, ranking behind Peterson's 1987 total of 4737 yards on the school's season record list.
Preseason...Had a rod inserted into his left tibia after suffering a shin fracture in February.
Appalachian State...Opened the season with 27 of 41 passes for a season-high 469 yards and 4 touchdowns, including a 76-yarder to Josh Davis and also ran for a score as he gained 18 yards on 12 tries...Fumbled the ball twice, one that resulted in a turnover.
Virginia Tech...Connected on 31 of 49 throws for 406 yards and 3 scores with a long of 38 yards to Curtis Jones.
Central Florida...Added 340 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 28 of 49 tries.
Kent State...Ran for a score and hit on 31 of 45 attempts for 377 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Buffalo...Completed 28 of 35 passes (80.0%) for 447 yards and 4 scores, including a 63-yarder to Davis.
Troy State...Scored once on the ground and connected on 23 of 35 throws for 275 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Central Michigan...Completed 29 of 42 tosses for 374 yards and 2 touchdowns with a long of 58 yards to Darius Watts.
Akron...Suffered a lower leg (shin) injury during the first quarter of the Herd's 34-20 loss... After missing one play, a Marshall fumble the Zips returned 98 yards for a touchdown, he returned to the game for the next series, guiding the Herd on a nine-play touchdown drive...The senior was then taken to an area medical facility for x-rays. He did not return to the stadium until mid way through the third quarter...What followed was one of the most incredible, and memorable, scenes in college football this season. Byron limped back onto the field, completed his first two passes after taking a late hit, and led Marshall to a touch-down. During Marshall's fourth quarter come-back attempt, he hopped around on one leg and had to be carried downfield by his line-men after several long gains...He finished the game, having played only two quarters, 26 of 38 passing for 307 yards...He was 19 of 30 for 259 yards after being injured.
Miami (Oh.)...Did not play (shin).
Ohio University...Returned to action, completing 19 of 29 passes for 219 yards and a 40-yard touchdown to Denero Marriott.
Ball State...Only played two quarters of action, but gained 401 yards with a pair of scores on 35 of 42 passes.
Toledo...Connected on 32 of 42 throws for 404 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Louisville...Closed out his career with 22 of 44 attempts for 249 yards and 4 scores.
All-Mid American first-team selection, named MAC Offensive Player of the Year and recipient of the Vern Smith Leadership Award...Put together the best single-season for a quarterback in MAC history....In addition to his league records and awards, he was named as one of 15 players as a semifinalist for the Football News Offensive Player of the Year award and he was listed as one of the top 10 contenders for the Heisman Trophy by most national media outlets...Broke the MAC season-records for total offense (4224), total touchdowns (41), passing attempts (470-tied), completions (315), and passing yards (4132 - first in league history over 4,000)...Fell just shy of two other league passing records – TD passes in a season (38-record is 39 by Chad Pennington, 1997) and completion percentage in a season (67.0 - Pennington set the mark with a 67.9 in 1999)...For the season he had four 400 yard passing games, including a school and league record three- straight...His ratio of touchdowns to interceptions (5.4 to 1) was second nationally to Fresno State's David Carr (6 to 1)...Also ranked second nationally in total offense per game (352.0) behind only Florida's Rex Grossman (354.91)...His pass efficiency rating (164.57) was fifth in the nation, six points behind Grossman (170.75).
Florida...Threw for 274 yards on 27 of 43 tries with a 62-yard score to Darius Watts.
Massachusetts...Totaled five touchdowns as he hit on 21 of 30 passes for 331 yards.
Bowling Green...Added 327 yards and 4 scores on 22 of 35 attempts.
Northern Illinois...Hit on 16 of 29 throws for 184 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a 31-yarder to Watts.
Buffalo...Amassed 455 yards with a pair of scores on 37 of 49 passes and ran for a 6-yard touchdown.
Central Michigan...Gained 471 yards on 30 of 44 passes with 3 touchdowns, including an 86-yarder to Josh Davis.
Akron...Had four touchdown passes with a long of 69 yards to Davis as he totaled 434 yards on 25 of 39 attempts.
Kent State...Followed with 24 of 34 passes for 333 yards and 3 touchdowns, adding another score on a 2-yard run.
Ohio University...Despite suffering a right ankle sprain, he completed 28 of 39 passes for 399 yards and a career-high 6 touchdowns (scores tied the school game record, first set by Chad Pennington vs. Ball State in 1997).
Youngstown State...Connected on 25 of 35 tosses for 218 yards and 3 scores.
Toledo (MAC Championship)...Completed 32 of 52 passes for 421 yards and 4 scores, including a 68-yarder to Denero Marriott.
East Carolina (GMAC Bowl)...Received a special "Award of Distinction" from the Columbus, Ohio, Touchdown Club for his performance in the GMAC Bowl and named Game MVP as he rallied the team to a 64-61 double overtime victory while hitting on 41 of 70 passes for 576 yards and 4 touchdowns, including a game-winning 8-yard toss to Josh Davis...Also ran for a 9-yard score.
Put together a remarkable first season as the Marshall starting quarterback...Threw for 3358 yards and 21 touchdowns on 279 of 457 passes (61.1%) while having only nine interceptions...Threw for more than 300 yards in a game four times.
Preseason...Suffered a left hip flexor strain in spring drills...Underwent an MRI in July after spraining his right wrist. The results were negative.
Michigan State...Connected on 27 of 44 passes for 227 yards and 3 scores.
North Carolina...Gained 215 yards with a touchdown on 19 of 35 tries, but suffered a mild concussion.
Buffalo...Returned to gain 378 yards and 3 scores on 25 of 36 passes.
Akron...Completed 26 of 49 throws for 393 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Bowling Green...Totaled 202 yards on 20 of 35 attempts before spraining his right shoulder (AC joint).
Miami (Oh.)...Hit on 21 of 33 passes for 290 yards and 3 touchdowns, adding another score on the ground.
Ohio University...Playing with a right shoulder sprain, he still managed to complete 27 of 40 tosses for 299 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Western Michigan (MAC Championship)...Connected on 29 of 47 passes for 358 yards and 2 scores.
Cincinnati (Motor City Bowl)...Gained 211 yards with a 77-yard touchdown to Darius Watts on 17 of 30 attempts and ran for a 1-yard score.
Received a medical redshirt as a result of a high ankle sprain and tonsillitis...Saw action in just three games prior to missing the rest of the season...Completed 7 of 11 pass attempts for 60 yards and one touchdown...Rushed for 26 yards on five carries.
Played in five games as the Herd's top backup at quarterback...Completed 7 of 13 passes for 85 yards...His best performance came against Bowling Green when he went 5-of-5 for 73 yards...Bothered in early September with a left thumb ligament sprain.
Suffered a left thumb ligament sprain in 1998 fall drills (9/01)...Granted a medical redshirt in 1999 due to a high ankle sprain ad a bout with tonsillitis (underwent a tonsillectomy on 10/01/99)...Suffered a left hip flexor strain in 2000 spring drills (3/14)...Sprained his right wrist in a workout prior to the start of 2000 fall drills (7/19). Results from an MRI were negative...Suffered a mild concussion in the 2000 North Carolina contest...Sprained his right shoulder in the 2000 Bowling Green clash...Again sprained his right shoulder in the 2000 Ohio University contest...Suffered a right ankle sprain in the 2001 Ohio University game...Had a rod placed in his left tibia after the 2001 season (2/01/02) to repair a stress fracture...Suffered a left shin contusion and hairline fracture in the 2002 Akron contest, sitting out the Miami (Oh.) game.
Campus Agility Tests
5.1 in the 40-yard dash...300-pound bench press...370-pound squat...286-pound power clean...30-inch vertical leap...31 3/4-inch arm length...9 7/8-inch hands...Right-handed.
COMBINE AGILITY TESTS
ARM HAND TEST 40 20 10 225 VJ BJ SHUTTLE CONE
32 9 3/4 25
Attended H.D. Woodson (Washington, D.C.) High...Lettered in football, basketball and baseball...Coached by Robert Headen...Named All-Metro, George Michael's Golden 11 and Offensive Player of the Year.
Business major...Son of Brenda Leftwich...Born Byron A. Leftwich on 1/14/80 in Washington, D.C.
YEAR ATT COMP PCT YARDS TD YD/ATT YD/CMP INT I/PCT LG GM/AVG