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Hendon Hooker named Hokies’ starting quarterback ahead of season-opener against Virginia

Head coach Justin Fuente said Oregon transfer Braxton Burmeister will also see playing time under center.
Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 6:47 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente named redshirt junior Hendon Hooker the Hokies' starting quarterback Wednesday after a three-man battle for the job in camp.

“If we were to play a game right in this moment, Hendon would start for us," said Fuente in a virtual press conference. "I’ve been really pleased with him throughout fall camp, but Braxton [Burmeister] would play and I’ve been really pleased with him as well. Hendon’s our starter and deserves to play and Braxton has earned that right to play as well.”

After rattling off six straight wins in his first six starts a year ago, Hooker has earned the starting nod once again for the Hokies' season-opener against Virginia.

The Greensboro, North Carolina, native tossed 13 touchdowns against only two interceptions and added five more scores on the ground in 2019.

But this year, Fuente said Hooker will likely share time with Oregon transfer Braxton Burmeister, who is eligible to play after sitting out last season.

“He’s a playmaker," said Hooker about his new backup. "It would be difficult situations where he would just make a play out of nothing and that’s something that I try to incorporate in my game as well. Just seeing him go out there and make plays and have fun, I love seeing the other quarterbacks succeed as well, so I’m just a fan at that point.”

Also in the mix at quarterback is redshirt sophomore Quincy Patterson, who started Tech’s road game at Notre Dame and came on in relief to beat North Carolina a year ago.

Fuente said having three battle-tested options behind center has never been as valuable as it is now.

“It’s a huge plus for us, in my opinion, that we’ve got three guys that have played in and/or won Power Five football games and not just gone out there and handed the ball off, but played and participated in their own unique style,” said Fuente.

But as kickoff draws nearer, the specter of COVID-19 still lingers, and when asked if his team could have played this week as initially scheduled, Fuente’s outlook was grim.

“I don’t know if we could, to be honest with you," he said. "I don’t know if we would have made it. I figured somebody would ask me, could we play today in this deal, and I’m going to tell you I don’t know the answer to that.

"I did everything in my power to construct a practice that we got something good out of today with the guys that we had. I guess the answer to your question, more directly, would be yeah, I’m glad we’re not playing.”

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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