Grant Wells Shines as Maroon Beats White 26-10 in Virginia Tech Spring Game

Grant Wells Shines as Maroon Beats White 26-10 in Virginia Tech Spring Game
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Apr 16, 2022

Focus was heavily on the quarterback battle between Grant Wells and Jason Brown for this year's Virginia Tech Spring Game and though Wells had more of the projected starters and top rotational guys on his team, the Marshall transfer shined brightest in the first public scrimmage of the Brent Pry era.

The Grant Wells-led Maroon team beat the Jason Brown-led by White team 26-10 with Wells playing well while Jason Brown struggled some with a largely backup-filled team against much of the first team defense in a game that was 19-0 at halftime before Devin Farrell, Tahj Bullock, and Ben Locklear led the offenses in the second half.

Wells was the most notable standout as he took some risks and shots down the field and hit a few on his way to going 11-21 for 178 yards and 2 touchdowns plus 17 rushing yards with both touchdowns coming on long throws over the top to Kaleb Smith. Wells showed lots of arm talent though did have a couple overthrows at times without the under-throws that are more dangerous for interceptions.

Meanwhile, Brown didn't have the best support from his team as he went 6-14 for 37 yards but even with that which included a couple drops and lots of pressure faced, the veteran transfer QB didn't have the day he was probably hoping to have.

Despite the gap, Brent Pry wasn't ready to name a starter at the end of his first spring practice at the helm of the Hokies but he did have plenty of praise for Grant Wells and some understanding for the challenges Jason Brown faced today.

"No I wouldn't say that. I thought Grant (Wells) played awfully well today. Did some good things. Obviously, Jason (Brown), the offensive line struggled a bit for the white group and made it tough on Jason. Grant obviously threw some good balls and had a good first half out there. We will evaluate the film and continue to work through the summer and take that competition into preseason camp," Pry said.

So while there isn't a decision that's been made yet, Grant Wells passed the biggest public eye test yet to date and seems like the favorite from the outside based on what we have seen.

Elsewhere, Kaleb Smith was a standout with 3 catches for 103 yards and 2 touchdowns with both touchdowns going for 40+ yards as he showed some big play potential that could be a boost for the VT offense. Da'Wain Lofton only had a 28-yard reception but looked quite effective in space while also being one of two players catching punts along with DJ Harvey.

Jaylen Jones also showed plenty of promise for taking the next steps making multiple guys miss on his ways to 2 catches for 27 yards while Dallan Wright had a nice 21-yard reception. Jaden Blue didn't have his best day as he had a reception for no gain plus a drop in what wasn't the public debut he was probably hoping for.

Malachi Thomas didn't play today after being limited in practice earlier this week per media there on Thursday, but the backup running backs did take center stage with Keshawn King leading the RBs with 5 carries for 25 yards plus 2 catches for 11 yards. Chance Black had 4 carries for 9 yards plus 2 catches for 10 yards while Jalen Holston had 24 yards on 4 carries and Bryce Duke had 8 yards for 2 carries. Jalen Hampton also had 23 yards on 2 carries.

Devin Farrell made some plays with his legs with 41 rushing yards and a touchdown while Tahj Bullock went 1-4 for 6 yards plus a game-best 43 rushing yards as the QB3 battle remains tight. Ben Locklear was 3-3 for 42 yards with a 7-yard touchdown to Conner Dusenbury.

TyJuan Garbutt led the defense with a big game as he had 3 tackles including 2 for loss with a sack while Wilfried Pene also had 2 tackles for loss among his 3 tackles including a sack. Norell Pollard had a strong game with 3 tackles including a sack though he also nearly had another sack that may have been one on Grant Wells' first touchdown pass.

Ny'Quee Hawkins was a big surprise with Brent Pry saying that Hawkins had his "best" day of the spring with a team-high 5 tackles including 1 for loss. Keshon Artis also played well with 5 tackles of his own including 1 for loss. Keli Lawson, Eli Adams, and Gunner Givens each had sacks with Lawson adding 3 tackles overall and Adams having 2 total.

John Love hit a 38-yard field goal in the first quarter while Will Ross hit a 39-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

There were plenty of positives and plenty of areas for improvement for the Hokies with depth likely at the top of the list along with some intriguing position battles from safety to wide receiver to quarterback. For now though, most Virginia Tech fans are likely more than satisfied with the new energy surrounding the VT football era that had loads of former players back in town and a buzz around the program that hasn't been seen since the Frank Beamer era in regards to the future of VT football.