Early 2022 Transfer Portal Targets to Watch for Virginia Tech

Early 2022 Transfer Portal Targets to Watch for Virginia Tech
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Dec 16, 2021

As Early Signing Day is mostly done for Virginia Tech, the focus shifts to the run to February and while Tech will likely look to add a few more high school and JUCO players, the focus will largely be on the transfer portal.

So with that said, here's a look at a few early transfer portal targets to watch.

Albany DE Jared Verse

Jared Verse may be out of Albany of the CAA, but he has established himself as one of the top early transfer portal targets nationally, and is rated as a four-star recruit ranking as the top defensive lineman currently in the portal by 247 Sports.

His numerous offers include Virginia Tech plus Oklahoma, Florida, USC, Miami, Auburn, Tennessee, Iowa, Florida State, Arkansas, Nebraska, West Virginia, Utah, Colorado, Purdue, Missouri, Syracuse, Kansas, Houston, San Diego State, JMU, Bowling Green, Kent State, Utah State, Buffalo, Western Kentucky and UCONN.

Verse has had an incredible 2021 which started in the spring when he had 10 tackles for loss in only four games on his way to earning CAA Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. He built on that in the fall with 11.5 tackles for loss including 9.5 sacks earning All-CAA First Team honors.

Verse has already taken visits to Tennessee, Florida State, Syracuse, and Houston but with his list rapidly growing, it seems way too early to really project where he may be leaning.

He has the size that you want for a defensive end at 6'4'' and 247 pounds, and looks like a clear late bloomer who developed quite well at Albany and now is a highly prized recruit again with three years of eligibility and a strong FCS track record.

This will be a tough battle for Tech but Verse is from Pennsylvania, and it's very likely that Brent Pry has had at least some form of previous introduction to him given that which could help. Additionally, Tech is one of the closest Power 5 schools to have offered him to date, and can offer an opportunity to come in and seize playing time at DE with Amare Barno headed to the NFL.

Get ready to hear the name Jared Verse a lot more as one of the top non-QBs in the transfer portal at the moment.

Incarnate Word QB Cameron Ward

Like Jared Verse, Cameron Ward is a young FCS star who is currently ranked as the #2 transfer QB with a four-star rating by 247 Sports recruit. Several schools have already extended offers including Virginia Tech, Ole Miss, Indiana, Houston, North Texas, and Western Kentucky.

Like Verse, Cameron Ward has had a tremendous 2021 starting with a big spring season where he earned All-Southland First Team honors before earning Second Team honors and Offensive Player of the Year, missing out on the first team to Southland Player of the Year Cole Kelley despite having bigger numbers.

Over the course of the 19 games he played over 2 2021 seasons at Incarnate Word, Ward threw for 6,908 passing yards, 71 touchdowns, and only 14 interceptions with a 63.5% completion rate plus a 151.6 passer rating. Yes, he may have done these things at a lower level, but the fact is that Ward has shown he is more than dominant at FCS, and has the skills to become a highly successful QB at the highest level of college football.

One of the unique things with Ward is the fact that he has four years to play three seasons in terms of eligibility which is part of the appeal of Ward. Ole Miss has been considered a heavy contender for Ward though their pursuit and their pursuit may increase as UCF standout transfer QB Dillon Gabriel has decided to go to UCLA over the Rebels who had been heavily involved.

With Tech having their QB coach in place with Brad Glenn, the pursuit of a transfer portal QB is almost certain to heat up even more with Ward clearly looking like a priority target for the Hokies at this point.

Richmond DT Kobie Turner

Virginia Tech hosted Kobie Turner last week on a visit where the Hokies extended Turner an offer, becoming the fourth Power 5 school to do so along with Georgia Tech, Northwestern, and Minnesota. He also took a trip to Wake Forest after his visit to Blacksburg though it doesn't appear that the Demon Deacons have offered him yet.

Turner has been one of the best FCS defensive tackles over the past three seasons with 31 tackles for loss including 13.5 sacks during that 27-game period including double-digit tackles for loss in the two full seasons this past fall and in 2019. He's also the type of Virginia guy that Pry has said he will priortize having been a standout at Richmond and being a Northern Virginia native.

With Jordan Williams leaving and Tech lacking some depth beyond their main trio of Norell Pollard, Josh Fuga, and Mario Kendricks at DT; the Hokies definitely have a need for another DT. Now that may not be one of the top needs for Tech, but Turner would definitely fill the gap well especially as Wilfried Pene and Tech's younger DTs continue to develop and fill in the depth behind.

Turner may not be the biggest need, but there's no doubt that he's a big time talent with Tech appearing to be in a strong position for him at the moment as the only schools that's offered him and hosted him on a visit.

FIU WR Tyrese Chambers

With Tre Turner, Tayvion Robinson, and Changa Hodge all moving on; Virginia Tech has a need at WR with only two proven or somewhat proven players on the outside in Kaleb Smith and Da'Wain Lofton. That's led the Hokies to offering one of the top WRs in the transfer portal, FIU's Tyrese Chambers.

Chambers has had two dynamic seasons in 2019 at Sacred Heart and 2021 with FIU as he had 50 catches for 811 yards as a freshman in 2019 at SHU followed by an even bigger 2021 at FIU with 45 catches for 1,074 receiving yards including an insane average of 23..9 yards per reception. He's also a Baltimore native which could help Tech if playing at Power 5 closer to home becomes something of great interest for him relative to other factors.

Chambers had released a top 5 of Mississippi State, Nebraska, Maryland, Arizona State, and Purdue before he got the offer from the Hokies so Tech may have a chance to fight their way into that battle. Mississippi State and Arizona State may be the favorites though as he's taken official visits to both schools.

While it may be an uphill battle for Chambers, what's clear is that the Hokies are looking for a veteran wide receiver who can help lead this group in 2022 with Turner, Robinson, and Hodge all gone.

ETSU OL Tre'Mond Shorts

Tre'Mond Shorts is the only player on this list that Virginia Tech hasn't offered yet, but the Hokies have had contact with Shorts as he told us with assistant coach Shawn Quinn. Shorts told us that his conversation was "good" with Quinn and that it was a general touching base.

Shorts is one of the most intriguing offensive lineman in the transfer portal as he's a multi-time all-conference and this season was a Third Team FCS All-American. He was a three-year starter overall at ETSU and definitely has the type of experience that Tech may be looking for to fill some of their potential OL gaps on the interior.

Shorts has already built up a strong offer list that includes Nebraska, Purdue, Virginia, Texas Tech, Colorado, Rutgers, and numerous others at the Group of 5 level. There's no doubt that he's a talented player, but Tech is definitely working to figure out if he fits what they want to do and the current status of the offensive line.

It wouldn't be surprising to see Tech try to land 1-2 interior offensive linemen from the transfer portal with Lecitus Smith and Brock Hoffman heading to the NFL, and Johnny Jordan exhausting his eligibility. However, they'll need to probably make a move to offer soon if they really want in on the battle for Shorts.