Will Baylor Transfer Charlie Brewer be the Next Starting Quarterback at Virginia Tech?
The week before Christmas has been an eventful one for Virginia Tech football.
Following last Saturday's regular season finale, one that ended in an emphatic 33-15 victory over in-state rival Virginia, all eyes remained on Blacksburg, with the future of head coach Justin Fuente hanging in the balance.
The 2020 football season was a disappointment for Virginia Tech. It's certainly an accomplishment that the team made it through the schedule and was able to play 11 games during a pandemic, but from a win-loss standpoint, the 5-6 record fell far below program expectations.
While the vocal majority of the fan base called for a coaching change, Whit Babcock elected to stand by Fuente in an unheralded press conference on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Fuente expressed optimism for the future of the program, despite just concluding his second losing season in the last three years - a program first since the early 1990s.
"I love our football players. We have a special, special group. What we're going to do is when we get back in January, (the players) are going to see a group that's fired up to go coach them. And we're going to go coach them the way that we know how to coach, and we're going to put a productive group out there on the field. I understand the expectations and I relish in that opportunity to go meet and exceed those. If you're prepared, it's not pressure," Fuente said on Wednesday.
It's one thing to understand and accept the challenge of getting the program back on the right track, but it's another to actually perform in the manner necessary to meet that challenge - something that many fans are skeptical that Fuente and his staff will be able to do.
The challenge itself has become that much more difficult when factoring in roster defections. This week, Virginia Tech has lost offensive linemen Doug Nester and Bryan Hudson to the transfer portal. Another depth piece on the line, T.J. Jackson, also elected to transfer. Running back Khalil Herbert is heading to the NFL, as expected, as is safety Divine Deablo.
However, the one player that delivered a major gut punch to Tech fans was quarterback Hendon Hooker, who announced his intention to transfer on Thursday. Given how the staff spoke about Hooker and his "odd" season during the coaches' press conference on Wednesday, it's not a big surprise to see him hit the transfer portal and head elsewhere following his graduation from Tech this weekend. Hooker, you'll remember, left the Clemson game with an unspecified injury and was a healthy scratch against Virginia, sitting behind Braxton Burmeister on the sidelines.
Burmeister, who the staff has spoken about glowingly since he arrived from Oregon prior to the 2019 season, played well in Hooker's absence against Virginia, leading many to speculate whether he'd have a chance to earn the starting job on a full-time basis next season. Burmeister turned in a 3-0 record as Virginia Tech's starter when he played in place of Hooker this season.
What's not talked about enough though, is that Burmeister could potentially be seeking a new home of his own this offseason. While Burmeister has not entered the transfer portal to date, there have been rumors that he could be seeking more playing time elsewhere. Whether or not this is true, or even in the cards after Hooker's impending transfer, remains to be seen.
Alas, Virginia Tech enters the 2021 season at present with three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. Burmeister, Knox Kadum, and 3-star 2021 signee Tahj Bullock.
Is that enough? I'm skeptical.
The depth is certainly not the same as 2020, where the Hokies boasted three former 4-star quarterbacks on the roster in Hooker, Burmeister, and Quincy Patterson (who also announced his intention to transfer following the Pittsburgh game).
This lends credence that Virginia Tech will likely take a look into the transfer portal to see who's available to add to the quarterback room in 2021.
At present, one name stands out among the rest, and that's Baylor graduate transfer Charlie Brewer.
On the surface, it makes a ton of sense. As a resident of Texas, Brewer is no stranger to Justin Fuente and the coaching staff. Virginia Tech was one of several schools to evaluate Brewer prior to his commitment to Baylor in 2017. His previous connection to the staff is one that should not be overlooked.
In addition, Charlie is the younger brother of former Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer (the starter for the 2014-15 season and the 2015-16 season). While Michael played under Frank Beamer prior to the arrival of Justin Fuente, there is inherent familiarity with Virginia Tech for Charlie from his brother's time with the Hokies.
And oh, by the way, Charlie is damn good.
In his four seasons at Baylor, Brewer completed 63.5% of his passes for 9,700 yards and 65 touchdowns to 28 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,039 yards and 22 touchdowns on the ground in his four seasons with the program. He's athletic, accurate, has a strong arm (stronger than his brother, Michael's), and has more starting experience than any current quarterback on Virginia Tech's roster.
The only knock on Charlie currently is his injury history - which is something that plagued his brother as well. Brewer has a history of concussions, which could potentially steer Virginia Tech, as well as other potential suitors, away from this talented graduate transfer.
However, given his pedigree, it's worth a shot for the Hokies to attempt to lure him to Blacksburg this offseason. There is not much movement here yet, but according to a source, Virginia Tech plans to test the waters with him in the coming weeks and months to see if he is a true fit in Blacksburg.
Time will tell, but the case for a second Brewer joining Virginia Tech is a story worth monitoring this winter.