Picking The Top WVU Football Players of 2018
A recent response to a query on a social media outlet put this topic up for debate. Who were the best West Virginia football players in the 2018 regular season?
This is admittedly an exercise that depends a great deal on judgment calls, because it’s very difficult to objectively evaluate, for example, a wide receiver against a linebacker. Stats don’t tell the whole story either. There’s no doubt, then, that your list will be different than mine. That’s what keeps bars in business, as we all order an extra drink and a plate of nachos to defend our picks.
For these picks that follow, NFL potential or selection to so-and-so’s All America team carried no weight. They didn’t see these players as much as we have, or understand their strengths (and very few weaknesses). The evaluation here is totally based on their collegiate performance and importance to WVU.
So, let’s dive in and go for an Elite Eight from West Virginia’s 2018 team, beginning with number one.
Will Grier: The obvious choice, but Grier was at least challenged by #2 pick David Long. Still, his numbers and productivity were excellent in nine of his 11 games, and decent in a tenth. We’ll get the chance to see just how important he was as we watch West Virginia in the Outback Bowl without him.
David Long: Imagine West Virginia’s injury-ravaged defense without Long, who made plays all over the field. Only a rising trend of the FSL (formation to the sideline scheme) had any impact on his productivity, and WVU was able to make some adjustments to get him back into the thick of the action.
Trevon Wesco: This pick might appear too high, but Wesco was the unsung linchpin of the WVU offense. He became a blocker that ably filled the role manned by Elijah Wellman over the past three years, and then added excellent pass catching and highlight reel runs after receptions to the mix.
Gary Jennings: It’s tough to pick between Jennings and David Sills, but this year the former gets the edge (last year it might have been reversed. Jennings made tough receptions in the middle of the field and was a bit more consistent in catching the ball.
David Sills: The converted quarterback had a connection with Grier that surpassed the normal sync between quarterback and wide receiver, and he backstopped it with a fiery competitiveness and big plays.
Colton McKivitz: I’ll get some heat for this one, but that’s ok. Over the course of the season, McKivitz seemed to be a little more consistent than counterpart Yodny Cajuste. It was a narrow decision, just like Jennings\Sills, and there’s no squawking from this corner if others see it differently.
Yodny Cajuste: Cajuste was also very good, and perhaps he suffered a bit from the curse of outsized expectations — not unlike the team as a whole. Still, he’s likely going to get a big contract from the NFL, and at this point that’s the most important thing for him.
Kennedy McKoy: West Virginia’s backfield featured four different players who excelled at different points of the year, but overall it was McKoy, who not only ran the ball effectively but also contributed nicely in the passing game, that set the standard for season-long performance.