Bryce Watts

BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech defensive back Bryce Watts is entering his name in the transfer portal, according to a source.  

Watts started 12 games as a sophomore for the Hokies. He had 29 tackles (24 solo) with a team-leading seven pass break-ups. 

While a number of student-athletes have departed the program in recent months — including quarterback Josh Jackson, wide receiver Eric Kumah and tight end Chris Cunningham — a source familiar with situation said Watts wasn't upset with his place on the depth chart or the coaching staff.

The New Jersey native is expecting his first child with his girlfriend, who is also from the New Jersey area. The couple posted a gender reveal video on social media earlier this year (it was a boy).

Watts was expected to start again at defensive back alongside Caleb Farley in the fall. He repped with the first-team defense throughout spring camp and was with the unit during the team's spring exhibition game. 

“As far as practice goes, at least when we’re out there, everybody look in sync," Watts said, during spring practice. "It’s going to be a better year. I promise you that.”

Watts impressed coaches last year with his dedication. He suffered a broken forearm against Boston College and was pushing to get back into the lineup three days after surgery to stabilize the injury.

“It speaks to how much he cares about his teammates, and how much he wants to play and contribute for Virginia Tech and this program," Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said, this spring.

Watts spoke to reporters during the spring about being eager to live up to the team's lunch pail moniker and taking the team's younger players in the secondary "under his wing." 

“This is LPD and we have to strive to be what the legends were when you look up at the practice facility on the bulletin board, you see the Fullers, you see Tremaine, you see Terrell," Watts said. "You want to be just like them, so you have that mindset.”

Virginia Tech developed some depth behind Watts and Farley this spring. Senior Jovonn Quillen is the most experienced option, but the coaching staff likes the way Jermaine Waller and Armani Chatman are developing. Waller had the play of the spring game breaking up a touchdown in the end zone. 

Tech is also hoping to have defensive back Jeremy Webb back for the fall. Webb has yet to play a down of football for the Hokies after tearing both his Achilles since arriving in Blacksburg. 

The 6-foot-4, 202-pounder expects to be cleared for fall practice after sitting out spring practice rehabbing his second torn Achilles injury.

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