Mountaineer Wideout Looks To Future As Reason To Return
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – David Sills flashed as much potential and promise this past season as any receiver in West Virginia history.
That he has been playing the position full-time for just one year makes the feat more impressive and was a major factor in his decision to return for his senior season.
“That played into it,” Sills said. “At the end of the day, I thought the best decision was to come back and get a year better. I haven’t been playing the position long. It was a really good year this year, but next year, getting better and bigger, stronger and faster, it can only raise how people think about me.”
Likely a late round NFL draft selection at best entering this spring, another season could leap Sills’ status into that of a mid-rounder or earlier. At 6-foot-4 and 203 pounds, the lanky wideout has the frame, hands and intricate understanding of the game for a solid professional career. What he doesn’t have is the pedigree, having played quarterback for the majority of his life.
When Sills was a receiver for those handful of games at WVU in 2015, he caught just seven passes for 131 yards. But two of those, including the 15-yard Cactus Bowl-winning touchdown reception that pushed the Mountaineers to a 43-42 lead with 2:19 remaining, were scoring grabs. That penchant for poise and delivery not only in the red zone but also via the big play, garnered Sills Biletnikoff Award finalists honors after a 60-catch season in which he amassed a national-best 18 TDs.
Yet Sills remains unpolished even after the significant strides made this season. With another year of development, and the return of quarterback Will Grier, from whom Sills caught all 18 scores, WVU’s fortunes and the draft stock of both players is expected to be on the rise.
“Me and Will kinda talked about it, talked about how good we could be next year,” said Sills, whose 980 receiving yards were the 28th-most nationally and good for seventh-most in the Big 12. “We were really motivated for it, and just looking to be better and have that chemistry. We obviously had good chemistry this year. It’s pretty exciting to think about what we could do next year.”
The core of West Virginia’s offense will now return with Grier and Sills the centerpieces complemented by running backs Kennedy McKoy and Martell Pettaway and wideout Gary Jennings with the likes of Tevin Bush, tight end Jovani Haskins and a line that should bring back four of the five listed starters for the bowl game in tackles Yodny Cajuste and Colton McKivitz, left guard Josh Sills and center Matt Jones.
All that, with a defense which returns its entire starting front three and five of its front six (Al-Rasheed Benton is the lone senior), along with its free and bandit safeties, could catapult the Mountaineers into a top two selection in the Big 12 preseason poll along with a top 15-20 pick nationally.
“We are focused on the bowl game right now but after the bowl game we will definitely be looking forward to the spring,” Sills said. “No matter what bowl it is, going out on a win always springboards a team into next season. We want to get this win for our seniors and then springboard ourselves into the next year.
“This next offseason could have some real positive energy, especially with a win. It was the best decision for me and for the team next year.”