Virginia Tech is looking to bounce back after their loss 24-17 to Purdue as they head on the road for the first time this season to take on Rutgers. Tech's week 2 matchup saw the stock of some Hokies rise and others fall whether that's in the eyes of the coaching staff, fans, etc.
So with that said, here's this week's addition of the VT Football Stock Watch.
Stock Up: TE Dae'Quan Wright
What a difference a week makes for Dae'Quan Wright.
After struggling in the opener against Old Dominion during which he had a pair of drops and a limited role, the sophomore from South Carolina shined in what may have been his best games as a Hokie.
Wright had 4 catches for a team-high 77 yards with those 3 of those receptions going for 20+ yards. Wright did it all sorts of ways whether it was over the middle on a slant-like route or getting strong gains on underneath crossing patterns. The Boilermakers really never figured out a way to contain Wright or his fellow TE Benji Gosnell with the two combining fir 7 catches for 98 yards.
Wright showed plenty of promise in the second half of last season being Tech's clear second best playmaker as a true freshman behind only Kaleb Smith. Now in a rejuvenated offensive skill position group, Wright didn't have to be leaned on as a primary option, but he showed against Purdue that he can be a focus of this passing attack.
Going forward with Ali Jennings out, Tech will need their tight ends to continue to step up with Wright looking more than up to the task after finding his form against Purdue.
Stock Down: QB Grant Wells
After having one of his best games as a Hokie vs ODU, Grant Wells struggled this past week and though he did have a pair of touchdown passes while throwing for over 240 yards, he also completed under 50% of his passes and had 2 interceptions.
Wells had his positive moments in the second quarter as the Hokies put up 17-straight points to tie things up going into halftime. However, Wells had a lot of inaccurate passes in this game along with one bad decision on his first interception that set up a touchdown.
Wells also suffered some sort of injury in this game playing through it for a while but being clearly limited throughout the second half. Looking back at the game, it became clear that due to Wells being banged up and not able to move much, he should have been pulled sooner than the last drive. You also wonder if that affected him on the last drive.
That's led to a ton of public pressure on the Hokies to bench Wells in favor of Drones given his latest struggles. The Hokies are still standing by Wells as their starter though his status for Saturday is "questionable". Regardless, more Drones could be coming given the recent struggles of Wells while the public pressure to make a change will only grow with every incompleteness Wells has going forward with the ways things are currently.
Stock Up: WR Stephen Gosnell
While Jaylin Lane will certainly be the true WR1 if he is good to go for Rutgers, there is a void for a new top outside WR with Ali Jennings out for an extended period of time.
Enter Stephen Gosnell.
Gosnell had one of his better games as a Hokie this past Saturday with 3 catches for 72 yards making some big plays for the Hokies in the process. While Da'Quan Felton struggled to find many open moments, Gosnell was able to do just that and get some big plays off of it. He also seems to be in rhythm with Grant Wells based on what we've seen to date.
While the focus has been on the three transfer additions at WR, there was plenty of talk throughout the offense that Stephen Gosnell had take some serious steps forward in his game. He's clearly take big steps forward and has developed into a legitimate option in the passing attack.
Now what remains to be seen is whether Gosnell can keep his high level of play up as a true starting receiver with Ali Jennings out? We'll see this week against Rutgers.
Stock Down: RT Parker Clements
There was a lot of hope that a healthy offseason would help Parker Clements find the form that made him look like a future star in his first season as a starter back in 2021.
However, Clements has struggled mightily so far this season giving up lots of pressure while making some poor run blocks. This past week saw Clements be a weak point in pass protection for the Hokies making Grant Wells and Kyron Drones scramble multiple times just a couple seconds after the snap. Additionally, Clements has seemed a little slow on his feet including on one run play where he simply doesn't pull to the right gap nearly fast enough giving Bhayshul Tuten no chance.
Growing pains were expected on the offensive line given that Tech only had two returning starters. However, the hope was that Clements would find his form and get back to his old self to be an anchor of this unit. Instead, Clements has struggled mightily with redshirt freshman left tackle Xavier Chaplin outplaying him so far especially against Purdue.
Tech needs Clements to find his form soon or else things could get even worse for a struggling offensive line.
Stock Up: LB Alan Tisdale
After Jaden Keller earned the start at mike linebacker against ODU, Alan Tisdale got the start this past week and gave the Hokies a floor of consistency at the mike LB spot even if he didn't set the world on fire.
Tech's rush defense seemed to be better organized in general this week including with their run fits holding Purdue to only 4.5 yards per carry excluding sacks, over a yard better than how they did versus ODU. Tisdale himself had 7 tackles including a sack this game and while he didn't set the world on fire, he brought some consistency to the heart of Tech's defense.
He's also been rewarded for it with the Hokies naming Tisdale their starting mike linebacker on the depth chart this week. Tisdale had plenty of momentum at the end of camp but the gap proved too big to chase down Jaden Keller for the starting job vs ODU. However, Tisdale stayed the course and seized the opportunity that he had last week to take this starting job
Now I will say that I think this could easily play out similar to what Tisdale went through last year when he returned midseason from a weird pro sports betting related suspension and brought a floor to a will LB spot that struggled with consistency prior to Keil Lawson breaking out in November. It wouldn't surprise me if we see that play out this season especially as Jaden Keller continues to get more game reps as the backup.
For now though, Tisdale is on the rise taking over as Tech's starting mike linebacker.