Following a disappointing 2022 season, Virginia Tech football coach Brent Pry knew his roster was going to need some additions from outside the program for 2023. What is the easiest way to add to your program from year to year in college football? Yes, that’s right, the transfer portal.
Pry made his move and hit the portal hard over the offseason and his work in recruiting there paid off in the first game of the season in a 36-17 victory over Old Dominion.
Virginia Tech wide receivers play a big part in the offense’s success for Pry
Quarterback Grant Wells lacked play-makers in 2022 at wide receiver. It led to him throwing for under 3,000 yards and forcing him to use his scrambling ability more than he or Pry would have liked. Against the Monarchs, he once again scrambled and even scored a rushing touchdown, but his three new receivers came up big at different points in the game.
Ali Jennings, a transfer from Old Dominion, had five receptions for 72 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 14.4 yards a reception against his former team and his third-quarter touchdown came after he caught a pass in the flat and made a nice move around a defender to get into the end zone.
Middle Tennessee State transfer Jaylin Lane had four receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown and he averaged 17.3 yards a reception. Da’Quan Felton, a transfer from Norfolk State had one catch for 34 yards, which set up a rushing touchdown for Wells.
In the backfield, North Carolina A&T transfer Bhayshul Tuten, who scored 13 touchdowns and rushed for 1,363 yards last season, gained 56 yards on 19 rushes. The impressive thing with Tuten was his ability to absorb a hit, stay on his feet, and gain a couple of extra yards. His presence will become more evident this season and he’ll make a bigger impact.
Virginia Tech’s defensive transfer had an impressive season-opener for Pry
Defensive end Antwaun Powell-Rayland transferred to the Hokies from the University of Florida and he wasted little time in making an impact and getting to know new Old Dominion quarterback Grant Wilson.
Powell-Ryland had six tackles, four solos, two of the five Hokies’ sacks, two tackles for loss, and a forced fumble.
Just impact can Powell-Ryland have this season? He seemed to always be in the backfield chasing Wright, which forced him to scramble out of the pocket, but just in terms of disrupting things, he is going to be a lot for opposing teams to deal with. Tech’s defense had three turnovers, a third of what they forced last season in 11 games. So far, so good.
The transfer portal is the easiest way to quickly improve your roster from year to year and Pry found that out in the first game. If anything, it gives Virginia Tech fans hope that this season is going to be different in year two of the Brent Pry era.