The Virginia Tech Hokies haven’t seen a season with only one quarterback behind center since 2017 and haven’t seen a quarterback own the starting role for multiple seasons since Logan Thomas did it from 2011-2013.
That’s a long time to go without field-general consistency.
So it stands to reason why so many have their eyes on incoming Head Coach Brent Pry’s first spring camp. Six players are currently labeled as quarterbacks on the roster and all six are getting snaps and looks.
Let’s examine those six potentials, from least likely to most likely to be the Hokies’ starter come September.
6. Ben Locklear | Redshirt Freshman | 6’5 220 lbs
I’m going to put Locklear in the least-likely spot for now as he’s a walk-on. He chose walking on at Tech over a scholarship offer from William & Mary, so he’s clearly going to work hard to be a Hokie. He’s a pro-style QB that gained impressive yards in high school.
5. Devin Farrell | Freshman | 6’0 192 lbs
Farrell is a dual-threat QB (215 passes to 111 rushes in his 2021 senior season) that received offers from a dozen schools. He’ll see some reps down the line, especially as we see how he works with new QB Coach Brad Glen, but he just got here. They like his versatility though, as Coach Pry says he offers “positional flexibility” thanks to his “‘it’ factor.”
4. Tahj Bullock | Redshirt Freshman | 6’4 228 lbs
Bullock got a few reps last fall: a grand total of four pass attempts and six runs in the Pinstripe Bowl. I think that alone puts him above others on this list. He also seems to be a part of the four working out the most in camp. He is the youngest of the four, however, so I think that fourth is a good place for him now. We will see how camp develops, but his age and limited playing time make him more of a candidate for future snaps than Fall 2022 snaps.
3. Connor Blumrick | Senior | 6’5 215 lbs
Blumrick appeared in six games last year with one start, but ran the ball 56 times compared to 31 pass attempts. That’s 242 yards on the ground vs. 152 in the air. There are some concerns about his arm, but there’s no doubt that he’s a tremendous athlete according, Coach Pry called him “(one of the) 22 best players (one the roster) right now.” He also made it clear that Blumrick will be on the field whether or not he’s taking snaps, which leads me to believe he won’t be taking snaps. He may have an advantage over the two transfers, but I find it unlikely that they won’t want Blumrick on the field and a hot quarterback.
2. Jason Brown | Graduate Student | 6’2 229 lbs
I think that Brown has a serious chance to get some real reps this season. His biggest con, however, is the fact that he only has one year of eligibility left. He used that time working his way up to better and better roles, from St. Francis to South Carolina, where he and first-year HC Shane Beamer (son of the legendary Hokies HC Frank Beamer) won two upset games against Florida and Auburn, achieving bowl game eligibility.
He’s always wanted to play for Tech and although Tech is his third school, it was always his first choice. That’s the exact kind of passion that this previously lethargic squad needs. I do think that his limited future in maroon and orange will ultimately be the thing that finds him in the two-spot, though. We all know that Brent Pry is a defensive coach and some stability at the QB position may help him give some consistency as he, OC Tyler Bowen, and QB Coach Glen build an offense.
1. Grant Wells | Redshirt Sophomore | 6’2 203 lbs
We’ll get to Wells’ impressive resume in a minute, but to the point about Brown, it’s important to acknowledge that Wells has at least two, perhaps three years of eligibility left.
In his two years leading the Marshall Thundering Herd, he went 14-9 with 34 TDs, a 64.3% pass completion rate, and another nine scores on the ground. He has two Bowl games under his belt as well (lost both). He also received the 2020 Conference USA Freshman of the Year and first-team All-Conference USA honors.
He’s got a great arm and he’s been showing that off in camp, with his deep throw to Dallan Wright a highlight. If he can be careful with his throws while still pushing the ball, he can set a strong foundation for the sidelines’ play calling that can open up some surprising opportunities for others in the mix.
It’s still early in camp and a lot can change between now and September, but this is the way it looks now. The more spring football we get (including the Spring Game on April 16) will clue us in more.