WVU 2021 Football Outlook: Quarterback

West Virginia quarterback Jarret Doege (Brian Bahr photo)

West Virginia’s quarterback position is like many on the 2021 Mountaineer football team – the starter returns but youngsters will try to push him.

Returning – Jarret Doege, Garrett Greene, Matt Cavallaro
Departing – Austin Kendall, Trent Jackson
Already Enrolled Newcomer – Goose Crowder
Scholarship Newcomers Enrolling In The Summer – none signed

Jarret Doege (6-2, 208 lbs., Jr.), who has started the past 13 football games at quarterback for the Mountaineers over the course of the 2019 and ‘20s seasons, returns for another year – actually he has two years of eligibility remaining – behind center at West Virginia. Because of all that experience, he’s again expected to be No. 1 at that position.

Youngsters Garrett Greene (5-11, 192 lbs., Fr.) and Goose Crowder (6-2, 200 lbs., Fr.) could potentially push Doege, but realistically their battle this spring will likely be for No. 2, not No. 1.

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WVU is searching for a new backup QB, as the player who filled that role this past season, Austin Kendall, has decided to move on. A fifth-year senior in 2020, Kendall had a great swan song, as he came on in relief of a struggling Doege in the second half of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl and led the Mountaineers to a 24-21 comeback victory over Army to cap a 6-4 season.

Kendall does have a year of college eligibility remaining, as the NCAA suspended the eligibility clocks for all fall and winter sport student-athletes for one year because of the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Kendall isn’t certain if he’s going to use his remaining season of eligibility at another school or if he’s moving on into the real world (he plans on going into hospital equipment sales), but with a bachelors and two masters degrees already in hand, he’s not coming back to WVU.

That leaves Doege as the most experienced quarterback – by far – on West Virginia’s roster. Including his two seasons at Bowling Green before transferring to WVU in the summer of 2019, Doege has started 30 games in his college career and played in a total of 33. In comparison, Greene saw action in two games for the Mountaineers this past season, and Crowder is an incoming freshman who just enrolled at WVU this past January.

Despite that experience, Doege admittedly still needs to show improvement in some areas, though he has been steady in others.

As a true freshman at Bowling Green in 2017, he completed 63.8% of his passes (120 of 188) for 197.3 yards per game with 12 touchdowns and three interceptions while playing in seven games and starting five. As a sophomore the next season with the Falcons, his completion percentage slipped a tad (62.2%, as he was 242 of 389), but he threw for more yards (221.7 ypg) and touchdowns (27) though also more interceptions (12), as he started all 12 games.

West Virginia quarterback Jarret Doege gets a throw away on the run
West Virginia quarterback Jarret Doege gets a throw away on the run

The Lubbock, Texas, native transferred to West Virginia following that 2018 season at BG, and after sitting out the first eight games at WVU in ‘19, in order to preserve his redshirt status, he got into action in the final third of the season. Playing the second half against Texas Tech (11 of 17 for 119 yards) and then starting the next three games of the 2019 campaign, Jarret completed 65.8% of his passes in that shortened stint (79 of 120) for 204.5 yards per game with seven touchdowns and three interceptions.

He followed that up this past season by starting all 10 games, where he completed 63.9% of his passes (239 of 374) for 258.7 ypg with 14 TDs and just four interceptions.

Over his four college seasons, Doege’s completion percentage hasn’t changed greatly – a low of 62.2% with at BG and a high of 65.8% at WVU – but his yards-per-game average topped out this past year at West Virginia, as did his interception avoidance (just one INT in every 93.5 attempts).

Doege isn’t a quarterback who is going to beat an opponent with his feet (he’s averaged -2.3 rushing yards per attempt as a collegian and his longest run ever at the DI level is nine yards), so he has to be elite with his arm.

He’s been good to this point but admittedly not elite, though WVU is 9-5 in the games he’s started the past two years and 2-6 when he didn’t.

Doege has two more years to get his pass efficiency ranking – which is a combination of yards, TDs, completion percentage and INT avoidance – into the desired 150+ territory. Nine Mountaineer quarterbacks have achieved that in a single season in school history, with Will Grier leading the way with a 175.49 in 2018. Doege’s efficiency this past year was 132.2, which was sixth in the Big 12, even though he was second in the league in passing yards per game.

West Virginia quarterback Garrett Green throws on the run

Greene got only a couple opportunities to show himself in games this past season. West Virginia’s No. 3 QB in 2020 behind Doege and Kendall, the Tallahassee, Florida, native got to play two series in WVU’s season-opening blowout against Eastern Kentucky, and then he got in one snap against Iowa State.

In both those outings, Greene spent most his time running the ball, as he gained 40 yards on six rushes in the two contests. He also completed three of four passes against EKU for 24 yards.

Greene enrolled at West Virginia in January of 2020 in order to get a jumpstart on his college career, but because COVID-19 concerns shut down spring practice last year after only a couple sessions, he did not get as much on-field practice work as hoped. Obviously he did get plenty of practice reps in the fall, and now he’ll – hopefully – get an opportunity to get even more this coming spring.

When he’s on the field, the dual-threat Greene would certainly change some of what Mountaineers do offensively in comparison to the pass-first Doege.

Crowder’s skill set is somewhere between that of Doege and Greene. Though he’s regarded as a pro-style quarterback, who completed 158 of 255 passes (62%) for 2,132 yards with 20 TDs in leading Gardendale (Ala.) High School to a 9-3 record this past fall, he also rushed for 586 yards and three touchdowns on 104 carries during his senior season in high school.

Rated as the No. 35 QB prospect nationally by ESPN in the class of 2021, Crowder also had scholarship offers from Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

He committed to the Mountaineers last April, and then enrolled at WVU at the start of the 2021 spring semester on Jan. 19. The early entrance allows him to get a head start on his academic work, as well as his athletic career. He is already participating in West Virginia’s strength and conditioning workouts, and he’ll certainly get plenty of reps when spring practice commences next month.

Will Crowder

Admittedly Crowder has a lot of ground to make up in terms of college experience in comparison to Doege and even Greene, but at least by enrolling early, he’ll get a chance to show this spring if he can realistically compete in ‘21 for either the starting (long shot) or back-up QB role (more realistic).

Trent Jackson, who had been with the Mountaineers the past three seasons as a walk-on at the quarterback position, has left the program with the hopes of finding playing time at another college.

WVU still has another walk-on quarterback on the roster, though, and he’ll definitely get plenty of practice work this spring.

West Virginia quarterback Matt Cavallaro

Matt Cavallaro (6-0, 201 lbs., Soph.) got a late start in college, as he spent a year and a half after high school playing junior hockey in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Matamoras, Pennsylvania, native eventually gave up his hockey dreams, though, and enrolled at Lackawanna (Pa.) College in January of 2019, where he joined the Falcons’ powerhouse junior college football program. He quickly established himself as LC’s starting quarterback and led Lackawanna to the NJCAA National Championship game with a 10-1 record in 2019. He completed 116 of 227 passes for 1,754 yards and 23 TDs in his one season with the Falcons. He received a preferred walk-on opportunity from the Mountaineers after that ‘19 campaign and enrolled at WVU in January of 2020. Now after over a year in the program, he’s ready to show if he can compete for a spot on the depth chart.

Cavallaro joins a quarterback position group that features two other young players and one very experienced one.

 

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Home Page forums WVU 2021 Football Outlook: Quarterback

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