Grant Wells Named Virginia Tech’s Starting Quarterback

Grant Wells Virginia Tech
Grant Wells was named Virginia Tech’s starting quarterback, beating out Kyron Drones. (Jon Fleming)

Grant Wells will start at quarterback in Virginia Tech’s opener against Old Dominion, Hokies head coach Brent Pry announced on a subscription NIL podcast Wednesday.

Wells got the nod over Baylor transfer Kyron Drones, who came to Virginia Tech in January. Pry said Drones will play “each and every week.”

“In the end, right now, we feel like Grant … he’s the furthest along,” Pry said.

Though the pair alternated days with the first team throughout all of August camp, Wells always felt like the frontrunner as the incumbent and someone who had a better spring game showing. Pry touted Wells’ grasp of the offense above everything.

“As we said from day one, he’s got a very accurate arm,” Pry said. “He made really good decisions.”

Wells started all 11 games last season, throwing for 2,171 yards, with nine touchdowns and nine interceptions, hardly eye-popping stats, though Tech’s skeleton crew of reliable play-makers contributed to the paltry numbers. 

His 117.5 QB rating was a career low, nearly 22 points below his final season at Marshall, and he finished the season with a 45.9 rating on ESPN’s QBR metric, which takes into account total quarterback play, ranking 96th nationally.

This will be Wells’ fourth season at a starter, however, dating back to his time at Marshall, and with added weapons like Ali Jennings, Jaylin Lane and Da’Quan Felton at receiver and Bhayshul Tuten at running back, the Hokies’ offensive outlook in 2023 seems better than last season.

A sheer lack of experience likely played a factor for Drones, who saw sparse playing time at Baylor before transferring to Virginia Tech, completing 14 of 23 passes for 219 yards and one passing touchdown in limited action across five games.

“His understanding of the offense grew,” Pry said of Drones’s performance during fall camp. “He’s in a much better place than he was in the spring. Any time you’ve got a guy his size who can run the ball and is willing to run the ball, it presents problems for the defense.

“There were days when Kryon’s passing ability was on par with Grant’s.”

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  1. There is an old saying. If you have 2 QB’s, you don’t have any.

    What if Wells starts and the O is clicking on all cylinders. Do you still put Drones in for a couple of series, or with a package of running plays that Drones can play. What if the O hiccups and when Wells in re-inserted, the rhythm is ruined.

    I’m a firm believer in playing 1 QB, unless 1) the starter had simply fallen on his face, or in the 3rd QTR, QB2 is needed for mop up duties.

  2. I think Wells will have a fine year as long as the O-line isn’t terrible in pass protection and the running game is solid.

  3. Drones was never going to be the starter. The real question is, how far ahead of Pop is he? If at all? He barely has more playing time than Pop does at this level.

  4. We are at a point of a lesson I learned in Squires Student Center. Two guys played billiards until it to money time. Good natured 9 ball became serious play for pay. It’s play for pay time. It gets tense.

  5. In the end the QB decision is almost irrelevant – I am sure both guys could be effective in a good scheme with quality play-calls. The question is whether this year’s offense is going to be more of the same or a completely new animal – we will know in a few days. Bowen doesn’t have to rollout Kyle Shanahan’s offense versus ODU, but it can’t look anything like last season.

  6. The two young guys on the left side of the O-Line have to play well for this O to succeed.

    1. Couldn’t agree more, I’m long past “I feel good about Pry” or “I like our young players”, we will all get our answers on the playing field in just a matter of days.

      Overall, teams generally finish close to where they where picked to finish in the preseason, not sure why this season would be any different for us just because we want it to be.

      I’ll believe it when I see it, and I’ll see it soon!

      I’m not even hoping for the best, just reality. If we’re bad, so be it. But the one thing I need to see is if we have any fight in us. Can we be competitive every game? That’s what your looking for after 3-8. We need to be the team who’s play says “I may not win but your damn sure gonna know you were in a fight”! Give me that along with continued solid recruiting and we’re on our way.

      1. Yeah, we start off sloppy on offense and have another 10 penalties it will be the same old, same old. Fingers crossed though.

        1. If we don’t start off 3in 1 or 4 and 0first 4 game it will be a long season I could see 6 and 6 maybe 7 and 4 but more realistic 4 and 8

  7. No surprise here. Better wide receivers and running back depth should make Wells a better QB.

    1. If Kaleb Smith was the best receiver last year and it was his breakout season, then where is he now? QB’s confidence has to be better this year at least at the start of the season.

  8. Grant Wells > Braxton Burmeister > Hendon Hooker.

    Best QB we’ve seen since Jerod Evans. Buckle up boys!

        1. List of collegiate quarterbacks who beat out HH for starting time:
          Ryan Willis
          Braxton Burmeister
          Joe Milton

          Can’t none of them touch GW. Elite QB.

  9. No real surprise here. Everyone else is a project. His starting position was never in jeopardy.

  10. Grant wells has limited potential. Last year is performance was dismal and please do not say the people around him were bad. yes they were because of Grant ! . So very disappointed he is the starter. The upside is so much higher with Drones ! at least Drones will be playing some to get more experience. ………………..

    1. Wells has shown at Marshall and in the spring he can be successful. The talent was bad (we started walk-on wrs and everyone returning is behind 3 transfers from G5 schools)..but the playcalling was worse. The talent has upgraded, let’s hope the playcalling will help Wells out. He is our starter…let’s support him and hope that the OC puts him in a position to be successful. Go Hokies

    2. umm- not sure why wells is assumed to
      have no potential. no reason he cant perform at least as well or better than he did at marshall…

    3. LOL!!! So how many of the ‘people around him’ are playing at VT, NFL or other P5 team…
      Sorry, but your argument is not supported by the facts.

      Pry is going to start the guy who gives him the best chance to win. Period.

  11. Bowen and Wells have a lot to prove this year. Hopefully they are competent. To me, 3-4 30 point games and consistently in the 20s would be improvement. I have never seen such a bad offense as last year.

    1. Agreed…they both have a lot to prove, Bowen..more so, then Wells..but they are also linked to one another and we are all (as fans) linked to how well they do. I know my mental health and drinking on game days is highly linked to how our offense will look.

  12. Well I hope the defense is better this year and has more stamina to keep us in games. Schedule wise I felt like 8 wins wasn’t out of the question, but Wells will swap that to 4. Hope I’m wrong, but he just looked bad last year. Some of it may have been lack of talent and speed at receiver to get themselves open, but it seemed he looked lost back there most of the time. Hopefully I am completely wrong and the offense is better than last year.

    1. Never wanted to eat crow as much as this year! Hope Bowen and Wells can put something together that at least looks like an average offense 🙂

    2. Hard to believe that he could be successful at Marshall and then fail at VT unless there was zero talent around him (and there was zero talent on offense last year).

    3. What QB would have looked better last year? You think Drones would have looked good last year? You think Wells held back the receivers last year?

      I just don’t understand the hatred of Wells as QB?

      1. QB = Scapegoat.

        It’s much easier to blame one person than to look at our WR room and see we had one legitimate option last year. Or our RB room and see that we were decimated by injuries all year. Or our O-Line and see how awful they performed compared to the previous year. Or all three of those and think “Damn”. That’s too many moving parts. QB sucks is much easier to say.

        I personally like Wells. Reminds me a lot of Glennon, who we won a lot of games with. Not a top tier QB, but we can win with him.

  13. How short is Wells Leash going to be? If we’re going to suck again, I’d rather do it with Drones getting experience

    1. My guess is Drones is not going to be your next starter following Wells. Which could be 2 years.
      Just my guess but feeling pretty confident about it!

  14. If Wells is a starter the entire year, the season will be a disaster. Should go with a more talented player if we want to be a better team. Wells is physically, talented, but a bad decision maker.

    1. So you’d rather put in Drones and just run it every time?
      I’m not sure what you’ve read or seen from Drones that makes you think he’d be a better option at quarterback. I hope he comes along and is able to be the guy but according to reports, he’s way behind Wells at passing and decision making.
      You’re right, it will be a disaster if our entire offense is the same… But I highly doubt our passing game, and offense as a whole, is better with Drones.

      1. I think he can make good decisions but if you watch him plays one good half and I think he trys to hard to be the man and ones he gets hit a few times get rattled

  15. I wish him all the best this year. I think he will be well improved with the improved coaching situation and more weapons around him. If we can get a running game going too, it will help him even more. If he starts being a turnover machine, I am glad Drones is there to step in.

    1. Come on now, you are being way to reasonable & logical – and it’s almost as if you believe the coaches want to play the players who give them the best chance to win.

  16. 14 completions for 2197 yards is pretty dang impressive, although, in theory, they all should’ve been touchdowns.

    1. I just calculated that myself and it would average approximately 157 per completion. That would have to be some kind of record, for sure!!

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