Ryan Willis wins Hokies starting QB battle, will start Tech’s season opener

Posted at 2:30 PM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-22 14:49:30-04

Quarterback Ryan Willis #5 of the Virginia Tech Hokies. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)

BLACKSBURG, Va. – He was un-Willis-ing to give up the starting job.

Thursday, Virginia Tech head football coach Justin Fuente announced Ryan Willis as the Hokies’ starting quarterback. He’ll lead Tech vs. Boston College in its season opener August 31st.

Willis, a redshirt senior, started 10 games under center for the Hokies in 2018 and finished third in the ACC with a 2.67 TD-to-INT ratio, fourth in passing yards per game (226.3 ypg), fourth in pass efficiency (138.0) and fifth in total offense (244.8 ypg). His 2,716 passing yards last season ranked eighth all-time in a single season at Virginia Tech.

Willis was competing with Hendon Hooker, Quincy Patterson II, Knox Kadum and Braxton Burmeister for the starting job.

Ryan Willis #5 of the Virginia Tech Hokies. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

“We’ll see how it all plays out through fall camp,” Fuente said at the conclusion of spring practice. “Ryan was thrown into game action early in the season, at times played well [and] at times could have played better. The key for us, I think, is to continue to evaluate that whole position. We have some young guys that have been working incredibly hard, too. We’ll see how they do through fall camp [and] kind of figure it out as we get into camp.”

Earlier this week, Willis was announced as part of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watch list. The award goes annually to the nation’s outstanding senior or fourth-year quarterback and is based on performances, as well as character, scholastic achievement and leadership qualities. His naming to the watch list marked Willis’ second of the preseason, as he also earned a spot on the Maxwell Award watch list.