After Virginia Tech's embarrassing home blowout loss to Duke last September, it was clear things needed to change offensively, and quick, in order for the Hokies to have any chance to salvage the season.

With senior quarterback Ryan Willis under center, Tech's offense looked uneven - to put it best - throughout the season's opening four weeks.

Head coach Justin Fuente and his staff knew changes were needed on offense in order for the Hokies to come anywhere close to realizing their potential, so the staff turned to redshirt-sophomore Hendon Hooker to ignite a spark in the lifeless unit.

Hooker's insertion into the offense turned things around for the Hokies, leading many to wonder why he wasn't the starting quarterback all along.

Hooker was calm and collected as the offense navigated the remainder of the schedule, as the Hokies went 6-2 with Hooker as the starting quarterback. While there's no question regarding Hooker's talent level and athleticism, it's clear that he's still raw as a passer and a work-in-progress under center. 

Hooker has shown the capability to make all the throws necessary to effectively command Brad Cornelsen's offense, but at times, Hooker can be a mix of ultra-efficient, but also erratic.

ESPN's David Hale showcased this dichotomy perfectly with a tweet regarding Hooker's passing splits a year ago. Quite frankly, it was a mixed bag depending on who Hooker was targeting through the air.

Hooker's final 2019 stat line saw him complete a shade over 61% of his passes for 1,555 yards and 13 touchdowns to only two interceptions. Hooker's ability to take care of the football was a major boon to the Virginia Tech offense, which struggled mightily with turnover issues when Ryan Willis was the starting quarterback. 

While Hooker's returns as a starter were overwhelmingly positive, Hale's statistics displaying Hooker's issues targeting wide receivers is a clear area that needs improvement in the upcoming season. There's no question that Hooker's efficiency in the short-to-intermediate "checkdown" game out of the backfield to running backs and in the middle area to field to tight ends is a strength of his, but the downfield passing game to wide receivers will need to be cleaned up. It will be interesting to watch this develop for Hooker, especially when considering the turbulent offseason due to COVID-19. 

Hooker's chemistry with the young wide receiving corps will be crucial to Virginia Tech's success this upcoming season, and it will be fascinating to see if Hooker can improve this area of his game. If so, he has the potential to become one of the best starting quarterbacks in the ACC.