Now that recruiting is complete, we here at HailWV have decided to take a look at how the Mountaineers depth chart will shake out in the Fall.
It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyways): this is too early to be taken as gospel, but this is our initial feelings about how West Virginia may line up next season.
Today, we are going to dive into a group that has a mountain of turnover heading into the 2013 season.
Departures: Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, J.D. Woods, Ryan Nehlen, Pete Miller, Ivan McCartney (left the program), and Travares Copeland (left the program)
Returning: Jordan Thompson, Connor Arlia, Dante Campbell, K.J. Myers, Devonte Mathis, Sam Eggleston, Will Johnson, Kyle Majnaric, Chai Smith, and Terrence Gourdine
Recruits: Shelton Gibson, Ronald Carswell, Mario Alford, Daikiel Shorts, and Kevin White
Out of the 4,292 yards receiving the Mountaineers had last season, West Virginia only returns 140 yards receiving (excluding Buie and Garrison totals). That is a tremendous amount of turnover for WVU, yet also leaves the competition for playing time wide open this Spring.
Jordan Thompson would figure to be West Virginia’s top receiver next season after amassing 13 catches for 85 yards in his freshman campaign. The raving evaluations of Thompson come into last season projected him to be the next Tavon Austin, a title he was not able to live up to in his first season on campus. 2013 will be Thompson’s season to prove those scouts right.
Outside of Thompson, anyone in the pool of remaining receivers could feasibly line up at the other three starting positions. Arlia, Campbell, Myers, and Clay all saw playing time last season, possibly giving them the inside track for increased playing time this season.
The way West Virignia pursued receivers in recruiting, especailly junior college receivers, you would have to assume that coach Holgorsen was less than impressed with his young prospects and is seeking more experience on the edges. JUCO receivers Alford, White, and Carswell all figure to battle for starting positions in camp.
Shelton Gibson, a talented freshman and top rated Mountaineers recruit, figures to also be a threat to start this season.
Based purely on speculation, this is how we think the Mountaineers receiving corps depth chart will look come the start of the 2013 season:
WR (X): Dante Campbell, r-SO, 6’4″ 213 lbs; K.J. Myers, r-SO, 6’2″ 197 lbs
WR(Z): Kevin White, JR, 6’4″ 210 lbs; Devonte Mathis, SO, 6’1″ 219 lbs; Daikiel Shorts, FR, 6’1″ 200 lbs
IR(Y): Jordan Thompson, SO, 5’7″ 164 lbs; Connor Arlia, JR, 5’9″ 183 lbs
IR(H): Shelton Gibson, FR, 5’11″ 173 lbs; Mario Alford, JR, 5’10″ 180 lbs
We believe that many of coach Holgorsen’s new recruits will ultimately end up starting for West Virginia. As much as we would love to see Connor Arlia earn a starting spot for the Mountaineers (being a WV native), we cannot in good conscience give him the starting position over talented slot recruits Gibson and Alford. Arlia will see plenty of time this season, but should not be a starter.
Kevin White and Ronald Carswell will be in a hot battle with Dante Campbell and K.J. Myers for the wide receiver spots. Both Campbell and Myers showed flashes of greatness last season but will need a strong training camp to hold onto their spots with White and Carswell in the mix now.