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Virginia Tech football: QB depth all of a sudden could be a strength

The Hokies keep—and add—a quarterback this week.

NCAA Football: Boston College at Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech QB Quincy Patterson hands off to Deshawn McClease in a November game against Boston College.
Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Just weeks ago, panic was setting in for the Virginia Tech football team. Players were transferring left and right, former starting quarterback, Josh Jackson, was among those transfers. Also, redshirt freshman and former four-star recruit, Hendon Hooker, was also entering his name into the transfer portal.

Uh oh.

Well, on the week that Jackson announced he would be transferring to Maryland, the Hokies received some good news. Hooker announced he was going to remain with the Hokies—at least for now—and, on Saturday, former four-star quarterback, Braxton Burmeister, revealed he would be transferring to Virginia Tech.

Burmeister, from La Jolla, Calif., spent the last two years at Oregon where he played in 11 games, making five starts, completing 56 percent of his passes for 373 yards, two touchdowns and six interceptions. Burmeister played behind Justin Herbert with the Ducks and started the first five games of his freshman season in 2017, a rarity for Oregon.

It’s worth nothing that Burmeister is not a graduate transfer and, as of now, is not expected to be eligible this year. However, with the NCAA you can’t rule anything out. For 2019, the Hokies have back Ryan Willis, Quincy Patterson, Hooker and true freshman, Knox Kadum. Willis’ eligibility will expire after this upcoming season meaning it could be Patterson, Hooker, Kadum and Burmeister competing for the job in 2020. The Hokies also have a commitment for the class of 2020 from three-star passer, Tyler Warren, from Mechanicsville, Va.

So, in short, the sky is not falling. Not everyone is trying to get out of Blacksburg. And, the Hokies should be in good shape in 2019 whether Burmeister becomes eligible or not. Also, expect head coach Justin Fuente to continue to recruit and evaluate prospects for 2020. There’s some belief that Warren’s best position may not be quarterback once he arrives on campus.

In truth, every team should take a quarterback each year. Not every prospect is going to work out and it’s the most important position in sports. By recruiting the position heavily, you lessen the risk of being left in a precarious position if one or two passers go down.

When Jackson transferred and Hooker entered the transfer portal, the Hokies were looking at just Willis, Patterson and a freshman not ready for playing time for the upcoming season. While that sounds good, one injury can change everything. That’s why Fuente and offensive coordinator Brad Cornelson were reviewing film for possible late additions to the class of 2019—that’s why Kadum became a Hokie—the JUCO market and the transfer portal.

Willis had his moments in 2018. He showed he could lead a game-winning drive in the win at North Carolina and made some clutch throws in the win over Virginia. However, there were plenty of frustrating moments, too. Overall, Willis deserves the opportunity to compete for the starting position. If everything we’ve heard about Patterson is true, the quarterback position will be in good hands the next two—or three—years.

In the meantime, it’s nice to see the Hokies actually getting some good news from the transfer portal.