Returnees: Braxton Burmeister, 6-foot-1, 205 (R-Jr.), Knox Kadum, 6-foot-3, 185 (R-Fr.)
Newcomers: Connor Blumrick, 6-foot-5, 215, (Jr.), Tahj Bullock, 6-foot-4, 224 (Fr.)
Key departures: Hendon Hooker (transfer), Quincy Patterson (transfer)
Virginia Tech’s quarterback room looks a lot different in 2021. Gone are Hooker and Patterson, both via transfer to Tennessee and North Dakota State, respectively. It was a disappointing end for both players. Hooker had some good moments the last two years, but never became a consistent passer. The end for Hooker came in the Clemson game.
As for Patterson, he was often used as the battering ram in his two seasons with Virginia Tech. A former four-star prospect, he, too, never developed as a passer. Do we sense a theme here? Developing a quarterback has been an issue for this staff, specifically offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Brad Cornelsen.
Burmeister is the unquestioned starter entering 2021. That’s a no-brainer. He’s arguably the fastest player on the team and he’s not a bad passer, either. However, he also has limitations in the passing game. He was 3-1 as the starter last season. The Hokies have plenty of talent at the skill positions and the coaching staff should cater the offense to Burmeister’s skill set. That means we should the tight ends and running back Raheem Blackshear much more involved in the passing game than in previous years.
Kadum received his first dose of playing time against Clemson in December. And he didn’t flinch. Kadum looked prepared, fearless and had a good grasp of the offense. It will be interesting to see Kadum if he has to play this fall.
Blumrick is a transfer from Texas A&M. He, like Burmeister, is a superb athlete. He is much bigger, meaning he could help the Hokies in a variety of ways.
Bullock is the true freshman. He’s big and athletic. In an ideal world, the Hokies don’t have to put him on the field in 2021.
Virginia Tech has a chance to have a solid season in 2021. But some things will have to go the Hokies’ way. One of those things is Burmeister staying healthy. Burmeister isn’t the biggest guy and the Hokies may need to cut down on some of the quarterback runs so he doesn’t take excessive hits.
For his career, Burmeister is a 56.4% passer. He averaged over eight yards per attempt with the Hokies last season. He completed 56.5% of his passes with the Hokies last season.
The Hokies need another strong effort from the running game this season. There is no Khalil Herbert on the roster, but the team is loaded with talented backs. For Virginia Tech’s offense to operate at its highest level, it will need the running game.
The Hokies have a talented team. This roster just lacks depth due to the lack of success on the recruiting trail in recent seasons. While Tech has lost its share of players to the transfer portal, the Hokies have received some good players back. Last season it was Herbert, this year it is defensive tackle Jordan Williams.
The quarterback position mirrors the rest of the roster. The Hokies have a solid starter, but if he goes down, uh oh.
Have we seen enough from Cornelsen to know he can’t cater to Burmeister’s strengths as a quarterback? Yes, but hopefully head coach Justin Fuente gets more involved. While I don’t think things would completely fall apart if Kadum played, this team will go as far as Burmeister takes them in 2021.