Even with Shelton Gibson and Daikiel Shorts moving on from WVU, Grier will have a plethora of weapons at his disposal; veteran upperclassmen mixed with a few experienced youngsters should cause opposing defenses’ fits.
Ka’Raun White will look to improve on a 48-catch, 583-yard season that saw him catch five touchdowns. Those numbers were good for 3rd on the team, but White missed the final two games of the year, including the bowl game. His older brother Kevin flourished in his second and final season for the Mountaineers before going Top-10 in the NFL Draft. This’ll be Ka’Raun’s third year on campus, but only his second with an integral part on the team. Could 2017 be another White breakout year? Junior Jovon Durante should slide into Gibson’s vacant position nicely after his numbers dipped this past season. I think Durante could become a household name by season’s end if he and Grier get off to a quick start. Junior Gary Jennings, the team’s third-leading returning receiver, only posted 10 catches for 165 yards and two scores last year, but is hoping for a bigger role.
Let’s not forget about the youth for the ‘Eers at the receiver position. As a true freshman, Marcus Simms played sparingly and only caught six passes for 95 yards, but he did reach the endzone once. Four-star recruit Steven Smothers would be a great guess if you were trying to pick a player who would make the biggest leap from their freshman season. Smothers didn’t tally a catch as a true freshman, but 2017 could be an entirely different world for the Maryland native.
Tight ends Trevon Wesco and Elijah Wellman could be surprise contributors for a revamped Mountaineer offense this upcoming year as well. Wesco was a JuCo transfer last season and hauled in his lone target for a touchdown against Iowa State. At 6’5″, 250 lbs., Wesco is a matchup nightmare for defenses. With Grier being able to throw over the middle, expect a tight end to work that area more, Wesco in particular. Wellman is primarily a blocking fullback/tight end, but his role could expand depending on how Grier and the offensive line play. Trouble protecting Grier early on could see Wellman and Wesco garner more snaps. But if things go smoothly up front, we could see a prolific Mountaineer offense in 2017.