Transfer Portal Tracker: Virginia Tech's Newest Offensive Additions
After a rough 3-8 season in 2022, Brent Pry and Co. knew they would have to hit the transfer portal hard for 2023.
Virginia Tech especially struggled on offense in 2022. Play-calling was oftentimes questionable, the offensive line play was poor, and the Hokies did not have difference makers at the quarterback and wide receiver positions. In the recent winter months, though, Virginia Tech has found some answers. The Hokies added five key pieces on offense, including new faces at QB, RB, and WR. Defensvily, Virginia Tech added Georgia Southern DB Derrick Canteen, but lost the commitment of Temple DE Darian Varner to Luke Fickell’s Wisconisn. Because I expect Chris Marve to add more pieces to his defense, I will only focus on the offensive guys in the article.
With that being said, here are the Hokies most recent offensive additions, and what you should know about them:
QB Kyron Drones – R-So.
A four star prospect out of Pearland, TX, quarterback Kyron Drones originally took his talents to Waco to join the Dave Aranda-led Baylor Bears. Kyron Drones was a force in high school, passing for over 5,000 yards and 70 touchdowns, leading Shadow Creek to its first state title. Drones picked Baylor over the likes of Auburn, Arkansas, Michigan State, Missouri, TCU, and others. Drones redshirted during the 2021 season, seeing little action in two games for the Bears. The following year, in 2022, Drones played in five contests, throwing for over 200 yards. Drones added two touchdowns on the ground as well. Most notably, Drones came in against West Virginia, playing the most he had all season – in a nail-biter that the Bears ultimately lost. Drones entered the portal following the conclusion of the 2022 season. He decided to join Tyler Bowen’s offense at Tech over Indiana, Northwestern, Kentucky, and Missouri.
The 6’2” 225 lb quarterback has a strong arm, yet needs to become more consistent throwing the ball. Drones is a threat on the ground as well, drawing some similarities to that of former Hokie quarterback Jérod Evans. Drones will battle it out with returning starting quarterback Grant Wells for the QB1 spot. Virginia Tech fans should expect Kyron Drones to be the starting QB for the Hokies in 2023, as he can make this Virginia Tech offense more dynamic.
WR Ali Jennings III – R-Sr.
A stand-out wide receiver at Highland Springs High School in 2018, Ali Jennings expected interest from Virginia Tech. However, Jennings received no offer from the Justin Fuente-led Virginia Tech Hokies. Jennings then signed with West Virginia in December of 2018. In his two year stint with the Mountaineers, Jennings totaled over 200 yards and two touchdowns. Following the 2020 season, Jennings entered the transfer portal and signed with Old Dominion. Jennings was an All-Conference and All-American performer at ODU. In his two years with the Monarchs, Jennings surpassed 2,000 receiving yards, hauling in 14 touchdowns. Jennings made the crucial fourth quarter catch near the goal line vs. the Hokies in 2022, which eventually led to the game winning touchdown run by Blake Watson. In the week leading up to the game, Jennings even mentioned that he had a chip on his shoulder, because the Hokies never offered him out of high school (Jennings finished the game with five catches for 122 yards and a win). After the conclusion of the 2022 season, Jennings entered the transfer portal again. Jennings immediately received interest from all around the country. Ranked as the top WR transfer by On3.com, Jennings held offers from Arkansas, Pitt, Mississippi State, Louisville, and Deion Sanders’ Colorado – amongst others.
At 6’2” 200 lbs, Jennings provides a solid build for a WR. Jennings is the most talented receiver on this Virginia Tech roster and should be the go-to guy for the Hokies in 2023, filling the absence of Kaleb Smith – and potentially providing more.
WR Da’Quan Felton – R-Jr.
A Portsmouth, VA native and Churchland High School alum, Da’Quan Felton decided to stay home and sign with Norfolk State back in December of 2018. Felton redshirted during the 2019 season and did not play in the 2020 COVID year. His first real action came in 2021 – his redshirt freshman season – where he totaled 492 yards and two touchdowns. But most recently in 2022, Felton broke out, becoming the go-to guy for the Spartans. Felton hauled in seven touchdowns in 2022, highlighted by a stellar performance at JMU, where the redshirt sophomore finished with 143 yards. But Felton’s best game of his collegiate career came in the season finale against South Carolina State. Felton had career highs all across the board, finishing with nine receptions for 163 yards and three touchdowns. Just two days later, Felton entered the transfer portal. Gaining interest from SMU, Marshall, Indiana, ECU, ODU, and JMU, Felton ultimately stayed in-state and signed with the Hokies on National Signing Day.
At 6’5” 210 lbs, Felton adds much needed length to this Virginia Tech wide receiver room. Felton, a former track star, also has deceiving speed at his 6’5” stature. The Hokies must use Felton’s athleticism and size to their advantage in 2023, something this past year's squad lacked.
WR Jaylin Lane - Jr.
The shiftiest receiver out of the three is ex-Middle Tennessee State star Jaylin Lane. Lane enrolled at MTSU in the summer of 2020 and instantly made an impact. Lane had 122 receiving yards and a touchdown his freshman year, but nearly quadrupled those numbers during his sophomore campaign – accounting for four touchdowns on 466 yards. Most recently in 2022, Lane was listed as a preseason All-American punt returner by Phil Steele (a matchup with Tucker Holloway in 2023 is something to keep an eye on). In 2022, Lane had his best year yet for the Blue Raiders. The 5’8” receiver caught the attention of the country during his stellar 130 yard performance against Miami, a game in which the Blue Raiders “upset” the Canes. Other impressive performances include his 179 yard game vs. UTSA, his 147 yard game vs. UTEP, and his 111 yard game vs. SDSU in the Hawaii Bowl.
Lane has shown serious speed, quickness, and agility in his time with MTSU. He is a defender's worst nightmare in open space. Lane should be an instant contributor to this Hokies offense, and potentially on special teams as well. Lane will probably be accompanied by Jennings and Felton on the first team offense for the 2023 season.
RB Bhayshul Tuten – Jr.
The most recent addition to the Virginia Tech offense comes from North Carolina A&T and FCS All-American, Bhayshul Tuten. In high school, Tuten averaged 9 yards a carry for New Jersey's Paulsboro High, finishing with nearly 80 touchdowns in his career. The high school superstar joined Sam Washington’s 2021 North Carolina A&T recruiting class and quickly turned some heads. Tuten played all 11 games his freshman season, finding the endzone three times on the ground. In 2022, his sophomore year, Tuten rushed for 100 yards in every game except one (first game of the year; only received seven carries), finishing with over 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground for the season. Tuten added 342 yards and four touchdowns through the air as well, proving to be a serious threat to all defenses he faced. Possibly his most impressive trait though, is his ball security, as Tuten had zero career fumbles while at NC A&T.
Tuten originally committed to Boston College after entering the portal, but a change of plans found Tuten in Blacksburg with the Hokies. Tuten may wind up being the most impressive get for Virginia Tech, as he also received offers from Florida and Georgia – something Hokie fans will like. The 5’11” 195 pounder will join Malachi Thomas, Keshawn King, and Bryce Duke in what appears to be a talented running back room.