Virginia Tech Spring Practice March 20

Virginia Tech defensive back Bryce Watts runs through drills at practice on March 20, 2019. 

BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech defensive back Bryce Watts penned a heartfelt letter officially announcing his plan to transfer. 

The junior entered his name on Thursday into the NCAA transfer portal for personal reasons, according to a source familiar with the situation. Watts is expecting his first child with his girlfriend, who are both from the New Jersey area. 

While Watts didn't get into specifics, he made it clear he's leaving Blacksburg with his love for "Hokie Nation" firmly intact. 

"This decision was harder than the decision to come to VT," Watts said, on Twitter. "I want to thank Coach Fuente, Coach Mitchell, and Coach Foster for giving me a chance to play football at Virginia Tech - it was the opportunity of a lifetime."

Watts, who made a remarkable in-season comeback from a fractured forearm, also shared with fans some of the lessons he learned from the 2018 season. 

"Through this remarkable experience, I learned how to fight through adversity, lead by example, and embrace the team concept at Virginia Tech," Watts said. 

Virginia Tech has experienced a high rate of turnover this offseason, but Watts' decision was different than some of his former teammates that left the program seeking out more playing time. 

The defensive back started 12 games for the Hokies as a sophomore and was expected to start opposite Caleb Farley for a second straight season. The two defenders spent the entire spring repping with the first-team defense. 

"My decision to transfer is not due to any negativities regarding the coaching staff; I had every opportunity afforded to me, and I'm incredibly thankful for that," Watts said. 

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

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