Virginia Tech Football: Hokies have a sneaky good spring football battle to watch

Who backups Kyron Drones is worth keeping an eye on.
NC State v Virginia Tech
NC State v Virginia Tech / Ryan Hunt/GettyImages

If there was one thing that the Virginia Tech football team found out last fall, it was just how important the backup quarterback is. Coming out of camp, head coach Brent Pry named senior Grant Wells the starter, but he was injured in Week 2 against Purdue which turned things over to Baylor transfer Kyron Drones. 

As it turns out, once the redshirt sophomore got his feet and gained confidence, the Hokies offense took off and became one of the better dual-threat signal callers in the ACC. In December, he announced that he was one of many key offensive players who announced that he was returning for the 2024 season. However, with Virginia Tech entering spring practices this month, there is one battle worth keeping an eye on, the backup QB battle.

Is Pop Watson going to be ready if needed?

Last season when Wells went down, freshman William “Pop” Watson was elevated to backup behind Drones, and this spring, the Springfield, Massachusetts native will enter spring ball looking to solidify his spot behind Drones. Last season he got into two games for the Hokies and rushed for 40 yards, but the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Watson can throw the ball.

In his four years at Springfield Central High School, he threw for almost 8,000 yards and 81 touchdowns, going 33-6 and winning two state championships. In his senior year, he threw for 17 touchdowns and rushed for 21 to lead an explosive offense. He was the Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year in 2022 during his dominating season.

Virginia Tech opted to not bring in a quarterback from the transfer portal over the winter instead seeing what Watson and Dylan Wittke can do. Drones will get his opportunity with reps to show that he’s ready to take the next step, but the key reps to keep an eye on are Watson and Wittke and if one can separate from the other in the coach's eyes. Both are talented enough to be the future QB for the Hokies and this spring should be a telling point of what the backup situation is.

Incoming freshman Davi Belfort will be on campus over the summer to add a fourth quarterback to the room, but with only three QBs for spring practices, Watson and Wittke will both get an opportunity to give the coaching staff an idea of who their backup is, and possibly the future QB. Let the practices begin!