Continuing the 2017 Mountaineer preview series, we now turn our attention to Sophomore receiver Marcus Simms. West Virginia’s receiving corps is a bit of an unknown entity coming into 2017 and never has there been a more opportune time for an underclassmen to emerge and broadcast him name on the national stage. Marcus Simms just might be the player to do that this season for the Mountaineers.
Marcus Simms, WR, #8
Hometown: Sandy Spring, Maryland
High School: Sherwood High School
How he got to Morgantown
A consensus first team all-state player his senior year, Simms had multiple Power 5 offers including Maryland, Pitt and Boston College and was garnering interest from Penn State. However, when erstwhile receivers coach Lonnie Galloway came calling, the deal was essentially sealed. Simms ended up committing in March of 2015 and stayed solid all the way up to his enrollment at West Virginia that summer.
Much has been made about the state of the Mountaineers receiving corps heading into the 2017 season. Granted, when you subtract Shelton Gibson and Daikiel Shorts’ production, there are few proven stars that return to Tyron Carrier’s unit out wide. The skeptics among us see this as a glaring weakness and a sure sign that West Virginia’s passing game will regress greatly as a byproduct. However, those of us that care to read between the lines and follow the program closely know that there is a bevvy of talent just waiting for its chance to emerge.
Simms may not be on the national media’s radar yet, but he’s already starting to gain a good amount of attention from within the mountain state. Simms already possessed elite speed, but he’s now added nearly 20 pounds of muscle to his long 6’0” frame this off season. That combination of speed and added size out at the ‘X’, where Simms seems to have staked out a starting role, has the makings of a lethal target out wide that can stretch the field on a consistent basis. Of course, with Shelton Gibson now attempting to make an NFL roster and Jovon Durante’s status with the team looking more and more uncertain, Marcus Simms essentially holds a golden ticket to become Will Grier’s favorite big play weapon.
2017 Dream Season
Based on the national media’s perception of West Virginia’s offense, Will Grier doesn’t have an arsenal to speak of at the wide receiver position. I can’t imagine a better scenario for Tyron Carrier’s group in 2017. While Ka’Raun White and Gary Jennings and, to a certain extent, David Sills have proven that they can make plays in big games, Marcus Simms is still out on the periphery. That could very well change in 2017. If Simms can find the right formula to make good on his speed and football IQ, Simms could have a breakout season and emerge as West Virginia’s #1 deep threat at the ‘X’ position. What does that look like on paper? Something in the neighborhood of 500-600 yards and six touchdowns, while making some noise on special teams, taking two kicks to the house and all the while setting the stage for an all-Big 12 season in 2018.