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Virginia Tech’s Hendon Hooker (center) looks for running room Friday in the Hokies’ loss to Duke.

MIAMI GARDENS — Virginia Tech confirmed the worst kept secret in Blacksburg — Hendon Hooker will be under center when the Hokies game against Miami kicks off in less than 30 minutes. 

On Thursday night, Tech receiver Tre Turner congratulated Hooker on being named the team’s starter for Tech’s game against Miami.

“First start Saturday 2!!!” Turner posted on Instagram over a picture of Hooker handing the ball off. “No need for the talkin. Go Kill!”

Virginia Tech defensive end Emmanuel Belmar made a similar post on Instagram Friday night hailing the start of the "2 era" (Hooker wears No. 2). 

Turner's post wasn’t up for long, but it was the clearest sign yet Tech intends to make a change at quarterback. The Hokies declined to comment on the team’s quarterback situation when reached for comment on Thursday night. A spokesperson for the team said an announcement would be made before kickoff.

Tech coach Justin Fuente declined to name a starter coming off his team’s 45-10 loss to Duke. Ryan Willis and Hooker rotated at quarterback against the Blue Devils.

“We’ve got to find a way to be more efficient,” Fuente said. “We’ve got to be more productive. It starts with those guys. It involves everybody. It’s kind of the same thing we’ve talked about 10 years ago or 15 years ago coaching quarterbacks is you’ve got to have predicted outcomes. You’ve got to execute the play call, distribute the ball to the correct place.”

Hooker was under center for three drives in the loss. He went 1 of 2 for 8 yards (it was his first attempts and completion) and ran the ball seven times for negative 4 yards.

“I feel like I’ve got a lot of work to do,” Hooker said after the loss to Duke. “We just try to get better day by day, and whatever the team needs me to do, that’s what I’ll do in order to win.”

Fuente said he was comfortable with Hooker in the passing game this week — Hooker has only two career pass attempts — but said little else about the quarterback situation.

“I feel good,” Fuente said of Hooker. “He’s taken a whole bunch of reps in the last several years.”

Hooker saw limited action in six games as a redshirt freshman last season. The highlight of Hooker’s season came in a 62-17 blowout win over William and Mary when he scored a 69-yard rushing touchdown.

Tech fans have wanted Hooker to get an extended look since the quarterback wowed those during the team’s 2017 spring game. Hooker, who enrolled early, went 10 of 11 for 113 yards with a touchdown and interception.

Hooker was one of the players that entered their name into transfer portal during the offseason, but he ended up changing his mind. The quarterback hasn’t said much about his three weeks away from the program during multiple appearances in front of reporters.

“Really, talking to Coach Fuente and my parents, and I thank them for being with me through that whole process,” Hooker said of the decision during the spring “And I thank my teammates for accepting me back. I just felt like Virginia Tech is home.”

Mike Niziolek is the Virginia Tech football beat writer for The Roanoke Times. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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