Veteran Receivers Like What They See From the Young Guns
At a school that throws much as West Virginia does, passing the football isn’t the only thing they pass.
They also pass the torch from one group of receivers to the next and the Mountaineers seem satisfied with the new blood they have brought in to come along behind — or with — this year’s solid crop that includes David Sills V, Gary Jennings and Marcus Simms.
Wide receiver is now one of the deepest groups of talent on the Mountaineers as they begin readying themselves or the Tennessee opener, with a rich lode of newcomers on the scene who will be heard from, maybe this year, maybe later.
Don’t believe it? Ask the quarterback.
“There are some young guys that came in that are impressive. A lot of guys right now,” Grier said when the subject was raised the other day.
True, they are just dipping their toes into the pool at present, learning terminology and technique, unsure of themselves and getting accustomed to the level
Grier acknowledges that Judgment Day is far down the road.
“It’s hard until you really get pads on and get out in camp and stuff like that,” Grier said, but he senses that help has arrived, and not just at receiver.
“Some of these young guys at all positions are really going to be able to help us. I’ve been impressed with the freshman class as a whole,” he said. “Obviously, we have gotten some good transfers in that have some experience. Those guys are going to be good.
“We are going to be able to tell in camp when the whole team is here moving forward with what we got. A lot of people are excited with what we have and I am really looking forward to it.
“Receiving wise in particular, it is nice to have more numbers out there just in these summer workouts. We went from probably, eight, nine, 10 guys in the spring to four deep at every position.”
One “newcomer” who will provide immediate help is speedster T.J. Simmons, who transferred from Alabama last summer and redshirted last year, meaning he will be ready to play this year and has people looking at him as potential big time contributor.
As a true freshman he played 12 games at Alabama, mostly on special teams, but in high school he caught 47 passes for 1,228 yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior, a signal that he can do it.
Right now it looks like he will be filling Kevin White’s spot.
The four prime freshmen on the scene are Randy Fields from Newark, Dela. Playing at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, he became a three-star prospect with 61 catches or 995 yards and 13 TDs, while an intriguing teammate, tiny Kwincy Hill, also joins him at WVU as a walk-on.
Then there’s speedster Sam James from Richmond Hills, Ga., also carrying three stars and a 17.1-yard per catch average with 11 high school touchdowns; Dallon Spalding from Virginia, who was All-Metro in D.C., and Bryce Wheaton out of North Carolina, who has three stars and a Mountaineer bloodline that traces back to his grandfather Garrett Ford Sr. and uncle Garrett Ford Jr., both running backs at the school.
Sills V, the nation’s leader in TD receptions last season, is also involved in helping these young players along and impressed by them.
“We’re just trying to show them the ropes,” he said. “We want them to come in, and we want them to have the grind early. We tell them, ‘OK, this is how we work.’
“You don’t want them to get in and get on the wrong foot like not knowing what the standard is and how we hold everybody here. Everyday I’m asking them if they caught today, if they did what they needed to do, get on the jugs gun, all of that.”