Much has been written, and continues to be written, about how the Mountaineers can't possibly recreate the massive production void that Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and even J.D. Woods left behind. Well, there are plenty of players on the roster looking to fill that void. Depending on which report you read, there are anywhere from 13-18 players who have been competing with each other to play vital roles in Coach Holgorsen's high flying offense. Which ones actually will? Let's see who the main suspects are, shall we?
The enigma that has been Ivan McCartney is back after taking some time away to deal with some family issues last fall. McCartney certainly has the physical tools to become one of the more productive receivers of this bunch. At 6'2" he is the big target that coaches like to have at their disposal. The coaches have questioned his desire and work ethic in the past, but Coach Holgorsen has mentioned that injuries that may have kept him from practicing in before haven't done so recently. Coach Galloway has also made mention of his increased maturity. McCartney, or "Sticks" as he is sometimes called, has worked his way back into the rotation and is currently listed as the #1 "X" (outside) receiver. Sophomore Ronald Carswell is listed at the #2 "X."
At the other outside spot, "Y," sophomore KJ Myers will start the season in the #1 spot. He and heralded JUCO transfer Kevin White have been battling and impressing in camp. White, if you remember, had a very impressive spring game, but with a minor injury, his participation may be limited to start the season. Once White is healthy, Galloway thinks White could be very special. Regardless, these two will give whichever quarterback that wins the starting job a set of very dangerous weapons at his disposal.
Moving inside to the "Z" receiver, we have a couple of freshman atop the initial depth chart. Daikiel Shorts is a name that has been popping up a great deal lately as one who has really come on and impressed the coaches. Devonte Mathis is listed in the #2 slot. A name that has been somewhat conspicuously absent from the depth charts is Jordan "Squirt" Thompson. He of spring game fame has spent much of the fall camp frustrating the coaches. He is another receiver with seemingly endless potential if he can just "get it." Another kid to watch for is Mario Alford. It's been said that he may be the fastest player on the team, but he too is currently fighting a minor injury.
Another name that needs mentioning here is Cody Clay. Officially now, he's listed as a running back. But, depending on the package, formation, etc., we could see him line up as a tight end (his natural position). And even more likely, based on comments last night on his radio show, Coach Holgorsen mentioned that we will see him lined up out as a wide receiver in the slot to generate mismatches much in the same vein as Tyler Urban a couple of years ago.
There are plenty of bodies available to utilize where the position, just a year ago, looked painfully thin (despite Austin, Bailey and Woods). Which ones are going to step up and take advantage? Holgorsen isn't quite sure yet:
"Right now it's about 50-50 with all those guys at all four receiver spots, to be honest with you,'' WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said this week. "And then once we get into the games I anticipate that one of those guys per position will rise up, which will give that specific kid the majority of the snaps.'' - Charleston Gazette
The potential is there, now it's time to put up when it actually matters. Otherwise, potential is just that.
More from The Smoking Musket:
- 2013 West Virginia University Football Depth Chart
- West Virginia Football 2013 Season Preview: Linebackers
- West Virginia Football 2013 Season Preview: Quarterbacks
- West Virginia Football 2013 Season Preview: Defensive Line
- West Virginia Football 2013 Season Preview: Offensive Line
- West Virginia Football 2013 Season Preview: Running Backs
- West Virginia Football 2013 Season Preview: Defensive Backs
- West Virginia Football 2013 Season Preview: Special Teams