The quarterback position has been a talking point for years, but even more so this year due in large part to an offseason where Hendon Hooker and Quincy Patterson both transferred.
Since then, Hooker has thrived and has Tennessee playing much better than expected while the Hokies have had their fair share of QB issues from Braxton Burmeister's passing limitations to injuries that have exposed a thin depth chart after the offseason departures.
You can also make an easy case that if Virginia Tech would have kept Hendon Hooker, the Hokies are right in the ACC Coastal battle and Justin Fuente likely would not have been fired or at least not yet even with the other offensive issues with Fuente and Brad Cornelsen.
Regardless, Hooker is not coming back to Blacksburg and the next head coach of the Hokies will get a depth chart led by a limited passer in Braxton Burmeister and a former TE in Connor Blumrick who hasn't shown much either as a passer even with 2 passing TDs but only going 5-11 against Miami.
With that in mind, it seems almost certain that Tech's 2022 starting quarterback isn't on the current roster and that finding one in the transfer portal or through the JUCO ranks like Jerod Evans is going to be the top roster priority for the Hokies' next head coach.
There's no doubt that Burmeister and Blumrick have shown plenty of heart and toughness that you would want and are also very capable playmakers with their legs but both seem to be near their ceilings due to their limited passing capabilities.
Burmeister is held back by the fact that he has a limited arm with his arm strength being a little below average. While there are plenty of guys like Chad Pennington who can overcome that through accuracy even down the field, Burmeister has had accuracy issues.
In modern college football where completion percentages are higher than ever and a little inflated due to more screens and quick passes that act as run plays, completing only 56.4% of your passes in 2021 just isn't good enough at the ACC level. While Burmeister has proven to maximize the skills he has as a runner and as a true fighter, his passing limitations limit his upside.
Blumrick is definitely a good runner and while he was able to make some decent passs against Miami, this is a guy who hasn't played QB in years after moving to TE early in his career at Texas A&M. Yes, he's proven that he can actually throw the football some, but hasn't shown enough that he can be a consistent, high level passer at the ACC level in limited opportunities.
Meanwhile, Knox Kadum showed some signs of progress from his INT against Richmond to improving after a poor start against Boston College. However, Kadum also has shown lots of inconsistency and some arm strength issues that also raise some red flags as to whether he has the ceiling to develop into a high end ACC caliber QB.
There's no doubt that he has the heart and I would not rule Kadum's potential out as some may, but it's also hard to see him being the guy a new coach would want leading the way in 2022.
Tahj Bullock has been a name brought up by many and is the wild card in all this given the fact that we haven't seen him play once this season. There's no doubt that he has a lot of the physical and athletic attributes that you look for while he also showed promising arm talent in high school.
However, his inability to climb this depth chart seems to suggests that he still may be a year or two away from that. Once again, I wouldn't rule out Bullock either as he could have been simply very overlooked by the previous staff and a second full offseason can allow for a big jump but he doesn't seem likely to be ready to be a high level ACC starter till at least 2023.
Some have mentioned current Tech commit Alex Orji given his great size and arm strength but it's extremely rare for a true freshman QB to be ready to start from day one. Same goes for Devin Farrell who has had plenty of high school success as well but could also use plenty of patience.
Of course, the next coach will have to make sure they hold on to both Orji and Farrell which could be a challenge if that coach and their staff don't have many connections to those 2 given how valuable relationships with coaches are especially in the recruitment of QBs.
Additionally, any time a new coach is brought in, there is going to be an offensive system change and there's no reason to expect any different whether the head coach has an offensive or defensive background. That also makes it easier for a new quarterback to come in and gain quick traction which also boosts not only the intrigue of the opportunity to QBs in the portal and at the JUCO level, but also the odds of a move like that happening.
When Justin Fuente was hired in 2016, his first move was to find a new quarterback in Jerod Evans which launched Tech into their best year since the end of VT's eight-straight seasons with 10+ wins.
For the next head coach of the Hokies, their first priority must be to make an upgrade at quarterback whether that's through the transfer portal or from a JUCO program.