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West Virginia's Newcomers Continue To Make A Difference in Depth

For West Virginia Football newcomers in the locker room have represented both depth and competition. That competition has resulted in vacancy to jobs held by some veterans on the team. Names such as Kevin White and Mario Alford led the charge in the past while names like Jovon Durante are making headlines today.

True Freshman Jovon Durante catches his first career pass and Touchdown.
True Freshman Jovon Durante catches his first career pass and Touchdown.
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Seniority in most cases means a privileged position earned by reason of longer service. Seniority in relation to playing time in most of college football's cases means nothing. West Virginia has had a plethora of new talent come into the program and make an immediate bid for their respective starting positions in recent years. Whether a junior college transfer, FCS/FBS transfer, or a freshman starving for super stardom, there have been changes to the depth chart some would call unforeseen.

After a rocky 2012 season in which the Mountaineers finished 7-6 they went into the off season depleted of resources and still suffering growing pains. Although these issues were a reality, there were positions in which WVU had confidence due to a returning starter or heir to the throne. But would it last?

Players like these included quarterback Paul Millard and Andrew Buie at running back. Heading into the 2013 season there was all the rave about Buie and how he was one of the top returning offensive utilities. Millard? Fans and the coaching staff were happy with a player who had been around long enough to understand Holgorsen's system and had looked halfway decent in mop up duty.  The two were overtaken by transfers who will be remembered at WVU for time to come. Buie was out before the conclusion of camp and took a redshirt thanks to transfer RB Charles Sims who had a field day at WVU before being drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014. Millard started the season with the coaching staff behind him before ultimately losing the job to Clint Trickett around the early midway point. Trickett would build off 2013 and go on to a solid performance in 2014 before injuries cut his career short just as some say he was knocking on the NFL door.

The Mountaineer's mirrored that trend once again with others in 2014. Rushel Shell and now graduated Shaquille Riddick (Arizona Cardinals) both first year Letterman at West Virginia had solid production while bumping somebody already in the program or having recorded previous game statistics out of the starting lineup. Dravon Askew-Henry also was able to nab a position from Jeremy Tyler on his way to being named Freshman All-American.

The movement even seems like it is continuing to thrive today as the Mountaineers showed the fire power of newcomer Jovon Durante in their 44-0 shut out of Georgia Southern. Durante finished with 3 receptions for an eye popping 121 yards and a touchdown. The true freshman had his first 100 yard receiving game before four veteran receivers on the current roster who have in-game experience, including standout Daikiel Shorts.

This may not be a bad thing.

The secondary has benefited from the competition guys like Daryl Worley and Dravon Askew-Henry brought in during their term of being freshmen. They even call senior cornerback Ricky Rumph a third starter and rely heavily on safeties Jeremy Tyler and Jarrod Harper for depth. The linebackers have the same fortune as 2014 junior college transfer Edward Muldrow III and sophomore Xavier Preston provide a solid backing for the senior starters in front of them after proving their worth as rookies last year. Muldrow III even started eight games.

The receivers room is not lacking either as seven receivers participated this past Saturday vs Georgia Southern with two only having been on campus since the summer. Even the seniors who have been here for some time like Jordan Thompson can give praise to the rookie direction.

"(Freshman Wide Receiver) Jovon (Durante) played outstanding, and I'm glad he got the nerves out of the way. Now, it comes down to improving. He has a lot of things to improve on even though he had a great game. He has to improve on catching the ball, running routes and different releases, but other than that, he did a phenomenal job." - Jordan Thompson

West Virginia will look to get their second win of the season with help from veterans and newcomers against Liberty University after a hot start that left them at 1-0. Game time is set for Saturday September 12, at 3 PM from Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.