Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer beats Mark Leal and will start at QB for Virginia Tech

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BLACKSBURG, Virginia — Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer has won the starting quarterback job for Virginia Tech.

Hokies coach Frank Beamer made the announcement Saturday, choosing Brewer over senior Mark Leal.

"Both of the guys gave great effort and played very well in preseason, making it a very difficult choice," Beamer said. "It was a very close race."

Brewer, from Lake Travis, Texas, enrolled at Virginia Tech in the summer with two years of eligibility remaining after graduating from Texas Tech with a degree in personal financial planning. Because he graduated, he was immediately eligible to play for the Hokies.

Brewer played in 13 games at Texas Tech over two seasons after redshirting in 2011. His transition to the Hokies' offensive system included learning to take snaps from under center because he played in spread offenses in high school and at Texas Tech.

Leal was viewed as the likely incumbent after serving as Logan Thomas' backup the past three seasons, but he struggled when called on to replace the injured Thomas in the Sun Bowl against UCLA last year. Leal completed 12 of 25 passes for 130 yards and threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and UCLA turned what had been a close game into a 42-12 victory — one of the Hokies' worst bowl losses ever.

Beamer declared the competition for the job wide open heading into the spring.

Sophomore Brenden Motley came out of spring camp as the No. 1 quarterback, but Motley has been slowed by a back injury, leaving Leal and Brewer to battle. Offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler said he expects the Hokies to need Brewer and Leal this season, and will continue developing Motley.

The Hokies open the season Aug. 30 at home against William & Mary, then play at Ohio State the following week.

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