As more and more players transfer from their original school each season, Justin Fuente has repeatedly used the transfer portal to bolster his quarterback room.
Fuente added JUCO stud Jerod Evans for the 2016 season, acquired AJ Bush for the following year and prior to 2018, Fuente signed Oregon transfer Braxton Burmiester.
After two more departures, Fuente dipped into the portal again on Tuesday and brought in Texas A&M transfer Connor Blumrick. While Blumrick’s may not be a bad thing, it barely addresses the elephant in the room — the Hokies’ quarterback situation is unsettling.
It’s unsettling because QB 1 and QB3 — that’s Hendon Hooker and Quincy Patterson, in case you forgot — both decided they’d be better off elsewhere and left Blacksburg for other opportunities. Hooker ended up at Tennessee while Patterson landed at North Dakota State.
That exodus left Tech with just two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster — Burmiester and Knox Kadum. That doesn’t include incoming freshman Tahj Bullock.
If Burmiester had played well in 2020, the situation wouldn’t be as dire. Instead, he threw just two touchdowns in six games and completed only 56 percent of his throws.
With a shaky option at the top of the depth chart and a physically limited Kadum underneath, Fuente and
world-renowned quarterback coach/offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen knew they had to reinforce the position.
So how’d they do it? They signed a former mid-level recruit from Texas who’s played two other positions more recently than he’s played quarterback.
No, that’s not a misprint.
Blumrick enrolled at A&M in 2017 and redshirted immediately. He threw one pass in 2018 before moving to tight end and eventually running back in 2019. Last season, Blumrick was featured as a special teamer.
To clarify, Fuente and Cornelsen’s solution to losing a combined 3,253 passing yards and 26 passing touchdowns is to add a former quarterback with a grand total of eight passing yards in his entire career.
You’ve got to be kidding.
Look, I’m all for adding a player who may have some potential upside. That’s especially so at quarterback. But when you’re returning a wildly inconsistent player and another player who barely belongs at the Power 5 level, you have to add serious experience and talent to compete for the starting job. You have to add more than eight passing yards.
Burmiester will likely enter 2021 as the favorite to win the starting job at Virginia Tech. I’d be shocked if someone beats him out. As important as 2021 is for the future of the program, I’d like to feel a little better about the most important position on the field.
Now it’s possible that Virginia Tech dips back into the portal this spring, once spring practices have made depth charts across the country more clear. But for now, this is an inadequate attempt to solve a serious problem.
If Fuente has any quarterback whispering left in him — he surely hasn’t used any lately — he better use it this season. Virginia Tech is going to need it.