Dylan Wittke, Tralon Mitchell, Antonio Cotman Enter Transfer Portal

Quarterback Dylan Wittke was one of four players to go into the transfer portal. (Jon Fleming)

Virginia Tech’s backup quarterback situation resolved itself Wednesday, with Dylan Wittke entering the transfer portal, one of four Hokies to put their names in during the evening.

A redshirt freshman out of Buford, Georgia, who signed with the Hokies last year, Wittke just finished his second spring with Tech in a battle with Pop Watson for the backup quarterback spot to Kyron Drones. Multiple reports say he’s entered the portal.

Though head coach Brent Pry described the competition as back-and-forth during the course of spring, he acknowledged that Watson had pulled ahead by the end of drills, something that seemed evident at the spring game Saturday. 

Watson went 13-for-21 for 130 yards and a rushing touchdown working with the Orange team. Wittke got reps behind Drones on the Maroon team, going 5-for-8 for 44 yards.

Pry perhaps telegraphed a portal entry with his comments after the spring game that Tech’s coaches would talk about adding a quarterback in the next few weeks. With the Hokies now down to Drones, Watson and summer enrollee Davi Belfort in terms of scholarship quarterbacks, they’ll almost assuredly pursue one on the transfer market. 

“We’re having those discussions now,” Pry said Saturday. “We’ve obviously got some guys in mind that we’ll speak with. We’ll see where it goes. It’s got to be the right group. When you look at Dylan and Pop, and you say, ‘Could one of them be ready by September?’ Maybe. But do you want to take that risk? That’s something [we’ll consider] when we’re watching this film. That’s why today was so important for those guys.”

Running back Tralon Mitchell had one carry for three yards in his Hokies career. (Jon Fleming)

Other portal entries Wednesday included running back Tralon Mitchell, safety Antonio Cotman Jr., and, earlier in the day, offensive lineman Gabriel Arena. All four signed in the 2023 class.

Mitchell, a 6-foot, 209-pounder out of Middlesex, North Carolina, redshirted last season. He only played in the Military Bowl, where he got one late carry for three yards. He scored a 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s spring game. 

However, with Bhayshul Tuten and Malachi Thomas at the top of the depth chart and a pecking order being established, his spot in the rotation seemed tenuous. Jeremiah Coney had a strong spring game (11 carries, 81 yards) and seems to be positioning himself as the No. 3 back. Walk-on P.J. Prioleau (91 total yards, 2 total touchdowns) and early enrollee Tyler Mason (8 carries, 33 yards) both got more work Saturday and seemed to be ahead of Mitchell on the depth chart during practices.

Cotman was a redshirt freshman out of Richmond who attended Life Christian Academy. The 6-foot-2, 193-pound defensive back swapped between the star/nickel spot and safety in his brief time at Tech. He played in three games last year, primarily on special teams.

“Ultimately, you’d like to play with a guy that has some of the coverage skills that he has,” star linebacker coach Shawn Quinn said earlier this month. “He’s a fluid athlete, he’s a good athlete, he transitions well, so he has some real strengths at that position that he brings to it. It’s one of those things, again, he’s a freshman that we’re trying to figure out, ‘Where can he help us the quickest?’”

The departures bring Tech under the scholarship limit even once the summer enrollees are factored in, unofficially at 83 or 84 total. That will allow the Hokies to be aggressive in adding pieces on the transfer market over the next few weeks.

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  1. Seems like these are decisions being made with good communication from our coaches to the players in an open and fair way. Everyone kinda knows where they stand. At least I hope so.

  2. It’s so nice (so far) to see a week in the transfer portal that looks professional. All guys lower on the depth chart with enough eligibility remaining to find a landing spot.

    Now a couple scholarhips are available for transfers / walkons

    1. I think we all agree that there are a couple of spots that could use upgrading or a more solid backup. So, a couple more transfer portal guys should be recruited over above our current available scholarships.
      Tough jobs for our coaches.

  3. I was hoping Wittke would work out. Buford HS is a powerhouse in GA. He should do well wherever he ends up.

    1. Thought he was tied with Watson at #2. Maybe saw Pop was getting more reps and maybe saw he was 2.1 not an equal 2. Could have been a close decision. Best of luck to him, unless he plays against Tech.

    1. Yeah but it seems like he was already behind a couple of freshmen. How long do you wait for potential to become realized?

    2. agreed

      just a “feeling” he’s gonna be good in a year or two

      i hope he reconsiders, comes back to VT, and does as Mrs Rouse (Aaron’s Mom) advised:
      ‘Be patient; practice hard; know your position; your turn will come –
      be ready for it when it arrives.’

      overall if this is all we lose, Pry and staff are some of the most “retentive” coaches in D1.

      We Are Virginia Tech. Go Hokies!

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