We are only a couple weeks away from the start of the first fall camp of the Brent Pry era for Virginia Tech football. So with that in mind, I'm going position-by-position to breakdown every position before the Hokies get underway starting with the most important position: quarterback.
Current Projected QB Depth Chart
- Grant Wells
- Jason Brown
- Tahj Bullock/Devin Farrell
- Tahj Bullock/Devin Farrell
- Ben Locklear
As you can see, Virginia Tech's projected quarterback depth chart has a lot of clarity in my view with Grant Wells over Jason Brown among Tech's two new transfers though we'll get into that more shortly. The Hokies only have four quarterbacks with Tahj Bullock and Devin Farrell continuing to battle farther down the depth chart while Ben Locklear, who did have FCS scholarship offers coming out of high school in the 2021 class, slots in 5th on the depth chart.
So let's take a look at the major storylines entering fall camp for the Hokies at quarterback.
Grant Wells' Job To Lose
Virginia Tech may not officially have a starting quarterback yet, but Grant Wells clearly looked the part of Tech's next starting QB over Jason Brown with his strong Spring Game performance. That was only one data point, but there did seem to be a clear upside gap between the Marshall transfer Wells and the South Carolina transfer Brown.
Plus, QBs coach Brad Glenn had some strong comments to The Athletic's Andy Bitter earlier this offseason that seemed to add greater clarity to the reality that Wells is going to be the first starting QB for the Hokies.
Virginia Tech didn't name a starting QB after spring ball, but ...— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) June 14, 2022
"I think everybody knows who it is,” Brad Glenn said
On Grant Wells and the #Hokies' QB outlook:https://t.co/MApyw7SQa8 pic.twitter.com/6QQHaGEfiW
Though Brent Pry stated at the end of the spring that he wasn't ready to name a starting quarterback, Wells seems almost guaranteed to be the guy.
In the Spring Game, Wells showed the arm strength and down-field accuracy that should bring some excitement to the offense and also the type of home run ability that can prevent teams from loading the box too much for Malachi Thomas and Tech's rushing attack.
Wells has always felt like the higher upside guy while Jason Brown was the higher floor guy especially given the interception issues that Wells had in 2021 after a strong debut season in 2020. However, Wells also has that big time touchdown upside that showed up best during his impressive 2020 season with Marshall winning the Conference USA East title that season largely due to the play of Wells.
Given the fact that he has three years of eligibility remaining, Wells always felt like the surefire future guy at QB for Tech but the future is about to be now for the Hokies.
Jason Brown Should Keep Pushing Grant Wells
Jason Brown may be very unlikely to be Virginia Tech's starting quarterback when the Hokies take the field to open the Brent Pry era at Old Dominion, but Brown should be able to push Wells throughout this upcoming season and could overtake him if Wells has some struggles.
Brown didn't have a great Spring Game, but that is only one data point and it seems like Brown did do a lot of things well this spring. He's also the one quarterback on this roster with Power 5 starting experience having led South Carolina to multiple P5 victories in the SEC last season after a strong career at the FCS level at Saint Francis. The turnover issues for Wells this past season could easily create an opening for Brown to take the job later in the season if Wells looks more like he did in 2021 and not 2020 in that department.
Brown may not have the same upside likely as Wells, but he definitely appears to have a higher floor who can be relied on to be a steady quarterback who won't make the big mistakes that will cost you games. He also has a deep passion for Virginia Tech and should be a great leader in the locker room as Brent Pry gets his culture in place to build around this season.
The odds of Jason Brown being the starting QB at ODU seem very low, but don't rule out Brown continuing to push Wells and taking the starting job if Wells has turnover issues similar to 2021 and unlike 2020.
The QB3 Battle
There will be a quarterback battle this fall camp though even if it isn't the one at the top that most were maybe expecting several months ago. The QB3 battle will be an interesting one to watch between true freshman Devin Farrell and redshirt freshman Tahj Bullock.
Both players were recruited by the previous staff though Farrell signed with the current staff while Bullock was signed by the previous staff. Bullock is definitely an intriguing prospect with his great size plus his athletic tools and arm strength.
Meanwhile, Farrell may not have the size but he does have a strong background coming out of one of Georgia's best high school programs in Milton HS while being a dual-threat QB with great speed and highly productive passing numbers in high schools. Some of his background and his skills make me wonder if he could develop into a faster version of Trace McSorley who Brent Pry and Tyler Bowen know well from their overlapping times at Penn State.
Bullock may be the slight favorite, but the gap seemed minimal at best with Farrell taking advantage of his opportunity to enroll early to put himself in the battle. Though that competition likely won't have an impact on the 2022 season beyond some garbage time reps, this is definitely a battle for the future beyond Grant Wells with Bullock in particular needing to win this battle or potentially get buried