MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Certainly, it’s far too early to pass judgment on West Virginia’s new starting quarterback, Jarret Doege, but the early returns seem to indicate he may just be the real deal.
And if he is, the Mountaineers investment in him may prove to be almost as good as investing in Apple stock when it was issued in December of 1980 at $28.75. That stock, had you put $1,000 in then and sold it in 2018, would have returned about $430,000, according to CNBC.
What makes us make such an outlandish statement?
Two things: The way he has started off as West Virginia’s quarterback after transferring from Bowling Green, and the way he may finish.
Let us first understand that this is a totally free year for Doege eligibility wise. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no one is being charged a year of eligibility this season.
In normal years Doege would have only one more year of eligibility following this season, but now he can play this year and next year will count only as his redshirt junior year, which could give him three full years of starting at WVU, should he choose to stick around.
Now, let’s look at the start he has had as WVU’s starting quarterback.
A year ago, the Mountaineers, to preserve his redshirt that season, took advantage of a new rule and held him out until the final four games of the season, getting his feet wet in his first appearance and then starting the final three. None of that counted against his eligibility.
So now, after transferring, Doege has managed to put four starts under his belt, the first three being last year against Kansas State, Oklahoma State and TCU and this year opening up against Eastern Kentucky.
He came away with three wins in four games … granted the toughest part of WVU Big 12 schedule last year came before he began playing, but he did win two of those three starts.
What do we have to compare him to?
Well, let’s take a look at Doege’s numbers against three pretty good quarterbacks who transferred into West Virginia after starting their careers elsewhere: Skyler Howard, Clint Trickett and, far, far back, Jeff Hostetler, who went on to become a quarterback who put Super Bowl champion on his resume with the New York Giants.
How did they do in their first four starts?
Jarret Doege: Doege completed 87 of 128 passes for a 67.9 completion percentage good for 927 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions.
Clint Trickett: Trickett completed 75 of 149 passes for a 50.3 completion percentage good for 951 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Skyler Howard: Howard completed 78 of 136 passes for a 56.4 completion percentage for 1,293 yards with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions.
Jeff Hostetler: Hostetler completed 65 of 130 passes for a 50.0 completion percentage for 1,009 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions.
Doege completed more passes than any of the three, had a far higher completion percentage, and threw more TDs than Trickett and Hostetler.
He would seem to stack up worse than Howard, who was far more explosive in yards and touchdowns, especially if you figure in not turning the ball over at all, but that’s a bit deceiving.
While Doege’s competition wasn’t top rate, Howard’s stats were built by facing a Georgia Southern team that WVU would beat 44-0 and a Liberty team that it would beat 41-17, to say nothing of an Iowa State team that was 2-10 on the year and 0-9 in Big 12 play. Even Texas A&M, which beat WVU in a bowl game, was nothing special at 8-5 with a 3-5 record in the SEC.
So it is that Doege’s WVU career start can be viewed in a highly positive light.
This is especially true when you look at Coach Neal Brown’s analysis of his Eastern Kentucky game in which he completed 19 of 25 passes for 228 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Brown believes there is much room for improvement over the year.
“Accuracy wise, if you look at our percentage, we had a high percentage, but we could have put the ball in some better spots,” Brown said during his Tuesday media call. “I thought Jarret threw the ball well but there’s probably a couple of balls where, if Jarret throws it where he’s supposed to, he’s over 300 yards by halftime and up for a couple of those weekly awards. He’ll continue to get better. Timing wise, it was okay, but it will continue to get better.”
Why should you expect him to improve?
Because he showed improvement over his first three starts last year.
“I thought he made a couple of significant throws on the same type of throws he struggled with maybe at the end of last year,” Brown said. “I was really excited about the way he prepared and I was really excited about his demeanor during the game. He kept an even keel.”
That game against EKU, though, was simply a dress rehearsal for what lies ahead, beginning with an Oklahoma State team that many believe can challenge Oklahoma for the Big 12 championship this year.