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2024 Position Group Previews: Quarterbacks

By Mike Holmes | June 21
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Photo: Virginia Tech Athletics

The Room:

Kyron Drones R-Jr. 6' 2" 234

Collin Schlee Sr. 6’ 3” 225 

William "Pop" Watson III R-Fr. 5' 11" 190

Ben Locklear R-Jr. 6’ 5” 251

Jackson Sigler R-Fr. 6’ 0” 193

2023 Review:

Grant Wells began the season as the incumbent quarterback and through the entire spring of 2023, the coaching staff went back and forth on the battle between Wells and Drones.  Wells got the edge to start the season and had an okay performance in the ODU game and struggled in the Purdue game before getting hurt.  Drones came in on the last series of the Purdue game in a tough situation and showed some flashes on that drive even in the loss.  After taking a couple of games to get his feet under him (losses to Marshall and Rutgers) Drones took command of the offense in the Pitt game (see Hokie Hitter below) and continued to grow as an all around QB throughout the year and the use of his legs was invaluable in the bowl game win vs Tulane.  

The way the coaching staff altered the offense midway through the season taking pressure off of the Offensive Line and allowing Drones to utilize his legs and get the ball into space and to athletes on the outside.  As the season progressed, the playbook grew and Bowen became more confident in Drones’ play.  While Drones was a weapon with his legs, his development in the passing game and RPO game is what began to scare opposing defenses.  

Spring Notes:

In the spring, Drones was the unquestioned starter.  The battle in the spring was the battle for QB2.  Pop Watson and Dylan Wittke battled it out and saw some significant playing time in the spring game.  Watson showed some promise and made some good throws and Wittke struggled seemingly to get into a rhythm.  After the spring, Wittke entered the transfer portal and ended up at Minnesota.  With Watson at the number two slot and still developing as a player, the Hokies dipped into the portal and snagged Collin Schlee, a transfer from UCLA, by way of Kent State.  The Maryland native is a similar build to Drones and his experience as a starter in the G5 added much needed depth to the QB room.  Coach Pry has mentioned in some interviews this offseason that Schlee will have a set package of plays that can help the offense.  

2024 Outlook:

The Hokies have the most confidence in the QB room since the Logan Thomas era.  Kyron Drones showed last year that he has the ability to beat folks with his legs.  In order to become a complete QB, Drones MUST become better in the passing game.  Last year,  whether it was adjusting to the speed of the game, or breakdowns in protection, Drones had to use his legs to escape the pocket and either throw on the run or scramble.  With more experience and new additions on the OL Drones should be able to see more time in the pocket.  If what the coaching staff is saying is true that Drones is better throwing into tight coverage, Hokie fans could see an expanded attack in the downfield passing game.  

Another area where we should see growth in QB play is in play calling.  Last year, it took Bowen and company a few weeks of seeing Drones in action to figure out what parts of the game Drones excels in and where Drones needs development.  It is never easy to change course mid-season and the team could only add bits and pieces at a time.  With a full offseason working together, we should see development in scheme and play calling that will emphasize strengths and minimize weakness in Drones game.  We saw this in the spring with the inclusion of “levels” concepts in the passing game.  Allowing Drones to make quick and easy reads and rolling the pocket while putting stress on the flat defenders and the secondary.  

Ideally, I think this season will be successful if Hokie fans see Drones develop as a pocket passer that can occasionally hurt you with his legs. The Hokies have too many weapons across the board in the offense to not try and spread the ball around.  The most important virtue that Drones can possess this season is patience.  If Kyron can stay patient in the pocket and allow routes to develop downfield, it will loosen up the defense and create openings in the run game.  The less that Drones has to run, the better.  The less Drones gets hit, the better.  If Hokie fans see this development in the QB play, the potential for the Hokies offense is limitless and should keep ACC defensive coordinators shaking in their boots.  

Hokie HItter: Pittsburgh


I am a 5th Generation Hokie. I have Orange and Maroon blood coursing through my veins. I was lucky enough to attend VT from 1999-2003 and graduated with a history degree. I became a history teacher and football coach working my way to spending multiple seasons as Head Coach at schools in North Carolina and Colorado.

I now live in Colorado, with my wife and son and do what I can to follow the Hokies from afar. The outstanding team here at Sons of Saturday was gracious enough to let me talk some football and be able to impart some my knowledge gained from years spent on the sideline.

Aside from following the Hokies in all sports, I am a fan of the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Braves, and Carolina Hurricanes. I also try to play a lot of golf and enjoy skiing out here in the rockies!

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