The Hokies do not lack for options at quarterback these days, so Quincy Patterson knew he'd need to hurry if he wanted to secure his spot in Blacksburg.
Between players already on the roster like redshirt freshman Josh Jackson and true freshman Hendon Hooker and signal callers yet to arrive on campus like 2018 QB DeJuan Ellis, Justin Fuente stands to have an absolutely packed quarterback room for the foreseeable future.
So when Patterson — a 2018 QB himself from Chicago's Solorio Academy — took a look at the QB landscape in Blacksburg, he decided he couldn't afford to wait to make his pledge to the Hokies and announced his decision on Feb. 27.
"I knew that they already had a commitment from DeJuan Ellis and they only wanted to take one more quarterback, so I kind of just wanted to beat everybody else," Patterson told The Key Play. "I didn't want to wait too long, and then next thing you know somebody else commits to V-Tech, then all of a sudden I can't commit and be like, 'Wow, I lost my school,' basically."
Patterson, who's rated a 3-star prospect by the 247Sports Composite rankings, credits his first visit to campus as the overwhelming factor in convincing him that was "my school" after all. He stopped by on Feb. 17, immediately before Fuente and company held a junior day event for a variety of top 2018 prospects, to get a personal tour of Blacksburg.
Immediately afterward, he confessed that he was dazzled by Goodwin Hall (Tech's new and shiny engineering facility), and he says that impression lingered the more he thought about the visit.
"Campus and how it makes you feel is a wow factor," Patterson said. "Campuses are typically good but when I saw the engineering building, that was just something that I don't think any school can really compare to. And then talking to the coaches, seeing everything else had the school had to offer, it felt like a no-brainer."
The feeling was so overwhelming that Patterson says he mulled making his decision right away, but with just two of his high school coaches in tow for the trip, he decided that he "had to go home and talk to my parents first."
But even with the temporary delay, Patterson's decision didn't change. While his family wasn't exactly thrilled with his desire to attend a school more than 600 miles away from his home in the Windy City, Patterson says they were able to work out a bit of a compromise on that front.
"My mom kind of took it harder than my dad did," Patterson said. "They're considering, not moving out there, but a temporary stay, so while I'll be out there, they'll be out there too. So I'm kind of like an only child at this point, so they wouldn't know what to do without me, basically. So they just decided to come out with me. I don't know it will work exactly, but hopefully it'll work out."
With his mind made up, Patterson called up Fuente on Feb. 24, a few days before he wanted to announce his decision publicly, to give him the good news.
"He said, if he was athletic enough, he'd do a backflip down the stairs," Patterson said. "But other than that, it was a 'Thank you for trusting me' type thing. I wouldn't say cliched, but what you'd expect to hear."
Patterson added that the message from the Hokies has remained clear since he decided to join the 2018 class — even with Tech's bevy of options at quarterback, he'll get a legitimate chance to compete for the starting job at some point.
"That was definitely part of (my decision), because I know they have a lot of QBs on the roster, but some are just practice players," Patterson said. "Knowing that the opportunity was there, that's what made the difference."
Should Fuente tab a younger player like Jackson or Hooker for the starting gig going into the 2017 season, Patterson is well aware he could have some time on the bench in his future. But that possibility wasn't enough to scare him away from Tech.
"There's nothing wrong with that, so long as they know that I'm ready, and they feel I deserve it, then I'm all for it," Patterson said.
With his decision made, Patterson is now planning to make the lengthy trip to Blacksburg once more sometime in the spring. Only, this time, Patterson's parents will get a chance to see what exactly about campus proved so dazzling to their son.
"My parents haven't seen it yet, so I want them to see what I'm going to be doing for the next four to five years, however long I'm there," Patterson said.