Jarel Williams Working To Make Early Impact In WVU Receiver Room

West Virginia receiver Jarel Williams watches a throw all the way in

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia freshman wide receiver Jarel Williams isn’t all that far removed from the young campers he interacted with earlier this week at the Country Roads Trust Football camp for elementary and middle school players. Williams, who has just wrapped up his first semester at WVU after enrolling early and participating in the Mountaineer football team’s 2022 spring practices, recalled similar events from his hometown of Saraland, Alabama.

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“I love to see the smile on the kids’ faces, having fun,” he said of the time he and other members of the Mountaineer offensive unit spent with a large group of active youngsters at the Mylan Park field. “I always want to come participate in things like this. Back home, we had this same type of event, where we could see the older players, run around and have some fun and learn some skills.”

Williams recalled those with a smile, and clearly enjoyed being able to return the favor to a new generation of youngsters. Along the way, he and his teammates tried to sneak in a bit of instruction, too, as they spent the first hour of camp running through drills before moving on to some free-flowing games and a post-practice session of sno-cones, autographs and a water balloon battle.

“Little footwork drills, things they can do at home, we can help them pick those up and get better,” said Williams, who understands the ways in which teaching can be made to be fun on the field.

West Virginia receiver Jarel Williams (white jersey) cradles a long pass as Mumu Bin-Wahad (29) tries to break it up

He’s been trying to do the same thing during his first few months at WVU, where he earned some notice during the spring session with a few standout catches and consistent work.

“It’s definitely a big change in the speed of the game and the physicality, and I think if I can pick that up I will be good,” he said of the jump from high school to college. “I really wanted to work my way into the rotation this spring, and get in there where I could possibly play down the road this season, and get better.”

Coming off a senior season at Saraland where he had 60 catches for 883 yards and 13 scores, he has demonstrated no problem making an impact in his games. Over three seasons for the Spartans, he totaled 132 grabs for 2,067 yards and 29 scores, and while he knows that such numbers won’t be on his resume early in his career at West Virginia, he has been doing everything he can to get on the field as a freshman.

The well-spoken Alabamian has also taken advantage of his status as the only freshman newcomer in the wide receiver room.

“Being the only incoming freshman receiver this spring, I kind of took [things] in from all of the (receivers) at one time,” he explained, which ran counter to the usual procedure where every newcomer or freshman gets an assigned mentor. “Sam (James), Bryce (Ford-Wheaton), KP (Kaden Prather), Graeson (Malashevich), Reese (Smith), all of them. I appreciate that.”

While WVU’s receiver roster does have some familiar names, only Ford-Wheaton and James return as proven pass catchers. They teamed up for 64 catches and 1,080 yards in 2021, but all of the other returning wideouts combined for just 25 receptions for 307 yards. They’ll certainly be counted on to improve on those numbers, but there is clearly room for Williams to make his own early mark. And if he does, he’s likely to have just the same kind of fun that he did on the camp fields.

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    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia freshman wide receiver Jarel Williams isn’t all that far removed from the young campers he interacted with earlier t
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    Like always I am optimistic going into the season.  I think we will be fine at the offensive skill positions.  Also in the secondary and along the defensive line.  And all of those positions improving over the course of the season.  So it would be nice to get off to a good start.

    My concerns, probably like everyone else, are with the offensive line and at the linebacker positions.  I expect someone to move into a starting role along the offensive line that will be a “surprise”.  Don’t know who that will be, just expect something different than the same 5 from last year.  In addition to flipping our tackles from last year.

    I also think we will see more 4 man lines this year than in the past on the defensive side.  Just think our personnel is better suited, overall, for a 4-3 scheme than a 3-3 with a bandit and mixed backer/safety.  We will still play with a bandit, just think more 4 lineman sets than the last few years.


    yes…hope they do go to 4 linemen on defense…


    Always interested in the viewpoints that some have about certain formations. Is the liking of the four-man front just due to what some are familiar with, or the idea that it generates a better pass rush?

    For WVU with its current roster, I don’t think it can run a four-man front consistently. There just aren’t enough people ready to play and be productive enough to fill the slots. That is one reason the bandit, as mentioned in the above discussion, is important. WVU was not able to play the bandit as the fourth lineman much at all last year due to the LB injuries – had to use that spot as the second inside backer, because, again, there weren’t enough dependable players.

    As for DLs that I think can play this year, there’s Alston, Stills, Martin, Thornton and Jefferson right now. That’s not enough to play a four-man front consistently. Now, if Lawton and Lockhart prove effective, or some of the redshirt freshmen like Russell, Vesterinen, Dudley or Simmons can show they can play some snaps, that changes my calculus, but at this point I still think that the 3-DL front will dominate, with four-man tossed in for certain situations or opponents.

    All of course, is subject to change pending fall practice!



    KK is more knowledgable about the situation than at least I am, probably others as well, but Vesterinen played more than I expected last year as a true freshman.  I know he has been injured, and no idea how that will impact his expected/hoped for development.  But all things being equal I would not expect him to play less this coming year.

    Russell has received some buzz since his arrival.  Seems like others who have received that same type of buzz have seen the field, even if more slowly than we might wish for.  Those 2 added to the 4 he mentioned up the count to 6.

    I am also expecting players such as Dudley, Lawton, Lockhart, and perhaps Redwood to see some playing time.  Equal playing time with those mentioned already?  No.  But some playing time.  That raises the potential total to 10.

    But let’s be clear.  I did not say we would become a 4 man DL team.  I simply think we will see more 4 man sets than in the immediate past.  That depends on how the “unproven 6” progress.  My preseason optimism thinks they will.  Time will tell.


    Now, as to why a preference for 4 man DL over 3 man?

    Actually, no preference.  Just think our total personnel is more suited for 4 man if the players manning the positions have the talent and skill to play.

    With the 3 man line we are playing a couple of “hybrid” players.  Namely the bandit and the spear if I have the positions correctly identified.  Those players are part linebacker and part something else.  I think we are thin with proven linebackers.  With the 3 man line we are putting more linebacker types on the field.  I think we can be 2 deep at all the defensive positions if those positions are divided into a more traditional 4-3-4 alignment.  But just limited knowledge opinion from afar.


    Why do I prefer 4 – man fronts? See the Minnesota game… that’s why. We would have been solid with Akheem Mesidor still in the fold. Need to put buy-out clauses in scholarship player’s contracts – that stipulate the program receiving the transfer must pay back the departed program all cumulative scholarship monies… then litigate–that’s how we nip this portal in the bud.

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Home Page forums Jarel Williams Working To Make Early Impact In WVU Receiver Room

Home Page forums Jarel Williams Working To Make Early Impact In WVU Receiver Room