by Jim Buzzerd
A couple weeks ago, I tossed out my thoughts on the race for the starting quarterback position for the 2022 West Virginia University football team. With little factual information to go on at the very beginning of spring practice, I had redshirt freshman Will Crowder in the lead with redshirt sophomore Garrett Greene and true freshman Nicco Marchiol establishing their place in the mix. I also mentioned that former Top Five national quarterback recruit J.T. Daniels, currently at Georgia, and formerly of the University of Southern California, has a strong interest in transferring to West Virginia.
Since then, more spring practices have been held, and recruiting visits taken. Reading through coachspeak and comments from those with access to practice, it seems that Greene has taken the top spot at this early juncture. His footspeed and arm strength were his assets last season. His inability to make multiple reads in the passing game were drawbacks. With four practices left prior to the April 23 Gold-Blue game, Greene has stepped up. Even if he’s not the starting quarterback this fall, Greene provides the offense with some intriguing options with his multiple skill set.
Crowder did not get to scrimmage last Saturday due to a sprained ankle. Marchiol had been plagued by interceptions through the early part of spring practice. Possibly understandable for a kid who will be missing his high school prom to be in Morgantown to play football. Last Saturday Marchiol seemed to step up.
“Nicco had some flashes,” head coach Neal Brown said. “He hit two deep balls on great throws and hit wide receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton on one you can’t place any better. He missed a protection that would’ve caused a big sack, a freshman mistake. He did a better job just managing the game. He got one delay penalty, but other than that, he managed it. It’s slowing down for him a little bit.
On hand for Saturday’s practice was Daniels who had previously visited Missouri and Oregon State. Daniels’ history with Harrell as his position coach at USC would seem to give the Mountaineers a reasonable shot at Daniels. Bringing in a veteran quarterback for fall camp may ruffle the feathers of the young guys, but if Daniels comes to WVU, what is the downside?
To that end, Brown has said the team will give quarterbacks Greene, Crowder and Marchiol every opportunity to prove their value before reaching a decision after the spring as to whether a veteran signal-caller should be added to the quarterback competition.
That is an interesting statement since those three quarterbacks have thrown 40 passes combined in collegiate competition. If Daniels wanted to commit last weekend, does Brown, as a coach, not take his commitment on the spot? With the inexperience in the West Virginia quarterback room, can you not offer a player who has completed 389 of 610 passes for 32 touchdowns and 4840 yards?