Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
For the third-straight year, Virginia Tech has been busy in the transfer portal, a trend that seems poised to be commonplace going forward with many Power 5 teams also adding multiple transfers a year just like the Hokies have.
Tech has made some prominent splashes landing four Power 5 players but are they quality additions for the Hokies? Here's my grades for the four scholarship, spring additions via the transfer portal.
Maryland OL Johnny Jordan
Johnny Jordan was Tech's first transfer portal addition this offseason, and came at an important time after the Hokies lost Doug Nester and Bryan Hudson to the transfer portal. That left a clear opening on the interior of the offensive lineman with Jordan being about as good of a replacement as Tech could have imagined landing.
Jordan has the type of experience and pedigree that is somewhat hard to find on the transfer market (though more available nowadays). It's not often you can land a guy with almost 20 starts in the Power 5 who was also an All-Big 10 Honorable Mention selection, but that's exactly what Tech will get in Jordan.
Tech had previously recruited Jordan heavily coming out of high school and while he chose Maryland at that time, it seems very likely that Tech's past recruitment combined with how Tech wasn't too much farther away from home than Maryland was helped the Hokies land him.
Jordan has played center throughout his career at Maryland and given Brock Hoffman's experience at guard, Jordan likely seems poised to stay at center with Hoffman at right guard. Combine those 2 with Lecitus Smith and that's one of the best interior offensive line groups in America.
There's no reason why Jordan can't be one of multiple Hokie offensive linemen to earn All-ACC honors in 2021, making him an easy A grade.
Vanderbilt S Tae Daley
Tae Daley was in the transfer portal throughout the fall, moving on from Vanderbilt before their brutal 2020 season, but it may have been a former staff connection via Darryl Tapp, who was briefly at Vanderbilt before joining Tech's staff for a season, that proved valuable in landing him.
With Divine Deablo heading to the NFL and safety depth proving thin this past season, the Hokies knew they needed to land a veteran safety who can at minimum push for a starting job. Daley can absolutely do that and should have a very good chance to go earn a starting spot.
That's because Daley was quite productive at Vanderbilt especially as a starter in 2019 as he had 57 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 2 pass deflections in 9 games. Given that, Daley profiles as a versatile safety who could play free or at the rover spot (or whatever that strong safety equivalent is called by Tech nowadays).
There should be plenty of opportunity with both safety spots being basically open and no plans to move Chamarri Conner away from his nickelback role where he thrives. Devin Taylor could have an edge if he stays at safety while J.R. Walker will be looking to take the next steps to become a starter. Keonta Jenkins showed flashes with a couple early starts and should be a serious contender while a healthy Nasir Peoples is the under-the-radar candidate that Tech coaches have been high on for years with injuries holding him back.
Daley is at minimum going to be a great veteran presence and depth addition with a great chance to earn a starting spot and do well for the Hokies at free safety or rover.
Clemson DT Jordan Williams
It doesn't take long to look at the facts and see that Jordan Williams is a home run pickup for Virginia Tech in multiple ways that could have long-enduring impacts.
First, it starts with the fact that Williams is a more than capable defensive tackle who simply got stuck behind an All-ACC DT and the ACC Freshman of the Year as a backup at Clemson. Despite that, Williams has still found ways to be extremely productive in limited opportunities with 8 tackles for loss in 3 seasons including an impressive 2019 where he had 22 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks.
In some ways, Williams' addition feels very similar to Khalil Herbert last offseason in that Herbert was stuck behind an All-Big 12 First Team RB in Pooka Williams Jr and was ready for an opportunity to be the guy. As we all witnessed, Herbert proved to be the guy he believed he could be with one of the best single season performances for a Virginia Tech running back ever.
That's what Williams can absolutely bring to the table as he has made it clear that he feels Tech is the best fit for him, his development, and the chance the showcase his skills for his ultimate goal of the NFL. Williams also brings the size that Tech has been looking for at 6'4'' and 310 pounds that should pair well next to a smaller starter that likely will be alongside him whether that's a healthy DaShawn Crawford or a younger DT like Norell Pollard or Mario Kendricks.
On top of that, a big season from Williams should resonate a lot in the 757 and could be huge for the Hokies trying to reassert themselves with the top prospects in that region, something they have struggled mightily to do the past few recruiting cycles.
Williams is a home run addition for the Hokies who is this offseason's Khalil Herbert and will at minimum be a First or Second Team All-ACC performer on a defensive line that is looking better and better.
Texas A&M QB Connor Lee Blumrick
With Hendon Hooker and Quincy Patterson transferring, Virginia Tech needed to fine a transfer or JUCO QB who not only would provide depth for a young room, but also be a legitimate challenger to push Braxton Burmeister.
While they did get a warm body in Blumrick who does provide some depth, this is not someone who seems anywhere close to having what it takes to actually push Burmeister this offseason.
Blumrick arrived at Texas A&M as a quarterback, but after playing one game at QB as a redshirt freshman in 2018, Blumrick was moved to other positions including tight end and running back for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He was the loyal soldier in that regard but Blumrick entered the portal wanting to play QB at his next stop.
Nothing in his background showed that he should be anywhere near a Power 5 starting QB job and there's no reason to think that Connor Lee Blumrick can push Burmeister at all for this job. If anything, Knox Kadum and Tahj Bullock each have a great chance to beat out Blumrick for the backup job as the depth chart currently stands.
Blumrick does at least bring some versatility to the table to maybe use him in different packages or even similar to how the staff used Quincy Patterson on QB powers and read options especially given his size at 6'5''. They could also move him to other positions if things quickly don't work out for him and his push to climb the QB depth chart while he at least provides some more veteran presence in what was becoming a young QB room.
When you have limited scholarship flexibility and need to get someone who can actually push Burmeister at minimum, landing a guy who was moved away from QB multiple seasons ago to play QB isn't what you can afford. While his versatility could be nice in some ways, Tech needed a Power 5 level QB and Blumrick has shown nothing to say that he is that.
In this case, Tech NEEDS to have their eyes on the portal to find a QB who can actually challenge and push Braxton Burmeister. For now, the portal exchange of Hendon Hooker and Quincy Patterson for Blumrick is a complete failure for Justin Fuente and Brad Cornelsen.