A few thoughts
by Jim Buzzerd
A week ago, the topic here was the exodus of players, starting players, leaving the West Virginia University Basketball Team. Jalen Bridges and Isaiah Cottrell were the first two 2021-2022 to leave WVU via the transfer portal. The question then was who else was to follow? The suspicion was that Sean McNeil was likely to enter the transfer portal as well. On Monday McNeil decided to part ways with the Mountaineers. That is four starters who will not return next season as Taz Sherman exhausted his eligibility. Now, we’ll wait and see how head coach Bob Huggins and his staff will try to replenish the roster. WVU fans will have fingers crossed that this retool goes better than the one last season.
The WVU football team began spring practice last week with three sessions. Little to report since pads haven’t been on yet, but the big position battle in the pre-season will be at quarterback. True freshman Nicco Marchiol is on campus and is expected to immediately battle for the starting job. Garrett Greene played some last season and is getting a good look this spring. Redshirt freshman Will Crowder is the third player in the mix.
Crowder’s only game snaps last season came in a blow out win over Long Island. Entering spring drills many were figuring Marchiol, a highly rated national recruit, would come in and win the job. Early chatter has Crowder looking good and may be harder to beat out than some suspect. Crowder’s name popped up last season when coaches would laud his practice and development. No good answer was ever given as to why he did not see the field more. Especially since he could have played in four games and maintained his redshirt status.
At this point Greene doesn’t seem to be a viable candidate to be a starter. That could change over time of course, but last season he seemed slow to read defenses which led to inconsistency in the passing game. Greene did show explosiveness as a runner as well as a strong arm. It would seem those attributes will get Greene on the field in some capacity, in some situations. Maybe he could line up in the slot, or even the backfield.
There is also another name that could end up in the quarterback room. Georgia quarterback JT Daniels is in the portal and has narrowed his schools to WVU, Missouri and Oregon State. Daniels is not in any camp this spring because he had to finish his semester at Georgia. Coming out of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California in 2018 Daniels was the top rated QB in the state and sixth nationally.
He committed to USC and as a freshman he completed 216 of 363 passes for 2,672 yards and 14 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. Daniels tore his ACL in the first game of 2019 and missed the remainder of the season and transferred to UGA. Daniels started three games for Georgia and suffered another injury before Stetson Bennett was given the nod as the Bulldogs signal caller for the stretch run of the 2021 season.
It seems to be a no-brainer to take a player of Daniels’ caliber and experience if he’s available, we’ll have to wait and see how it unfolds. WVU is in the mix because new offensive coordinator/quarterback coach Graham Harrell who coached Daniels at USC.