It was mentioned here a couple weeks ago that a couple quarterbacks had finished up their senior year of high school early so that they could enroll at West Virginia University in time for spring football practice. It is certainly not an ideal situation to have a true freshman as a back up, especially at quarterback, but getting Brain Athey and Paul Millard into camp this spring could pay huge dividends should returning starter Geno Smith go down.
Athey and Millard aren’t the only early high school graduates participating in spring camp in Morgantown. Vance and Vernard Roberts are among the early enrollees. The Roberts are twin brothers from Washington DC’s Dunbar High School.
Vance was rated a four star defensive back coming out of high school and Vernard was a three star running back. West Virginia was always high on the brothers’ list of schools to attend. Other schools were interested in the brothers, but not many matched the level of interest West Virginia showed them as a package deal.
Vance, with his four star rating, was considered the prize of the package, but as spring practice evolves it is Vernard at running back that has caught the attention of the coaching staff. Early in camp it was Shawn Alston, Trey Johnson and Daquan Hargett receiving most of the attention at the running back position. That seems to have changed following Saturday’s scrimmage. Roberts received the bulk of the work with the first team offense in Monday’s practice and offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen called Roberts the most surprising back in camp at this point.
That’s strong praise for a guy that could be running track with his high school teammates. Of course at this stage, Holgorsen could be trying to light a fire under the other running back candidates, but feel free to look up Roberts’ highlights on the web and it is easy to see why he may indeed be the real deal.
Even so, two more freshman running backs are expected to arrive this fall and contend for playing time. Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison each have impressive highlight footage themselves and are expected to get long looks for playing time in August, hopefully. At last check Buie has not qualified so his arrival is still in question. Garrison is a smaller back, more in the mold of Tavon Austin. There is speculation that Garrison may see the field as a receiver/returner before he gets in the backfield.
Spring drills culminate Friday, April 29 with the spring game that will begin at 7:30.