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2017 West Virginia Mountaineers Position Overview: Runningbacks

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The Mountaineers may have the best bunch of running backs in the Big 12

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Texas Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

It is the position where the Mountaineers may have an advantage over every other team they face this year, running back.

2016 Exodus

Rushel Shell, who transferred to West Virginia after his freshman year at Pitt in 2012, rushed for over 2,600 yards in his career. He carved out a niche at WVU as the power back.

2017 West Virginia Tight Ends

Player Year 2016 Stats
Player Year 2016 Stats
Jovani Haskins R-Fr Redshirted (Miami)
Mac Christy Fr DNP (High School)
Joseph Turner Fr DNP (High School)
Matt Bezjak R-Fr Redshirted
Trevon Wesco R-Jr 1 catch, 6 yards, 1 TD
Matt Vucelik R-So DNP
Rob Dowdy R-So DNP

Justin Crawford

Justin Crawford came to West Virginia as the number 3 ranked JUCO running back and it didn’t take long for Mountaineer coaches and fans to realize they had a good one on their hands. Crawford fit in Dana Holgorsen’s system like a glove and gave the Mountaineers a premiere back. Crawford battled injuries last year but did not miss a game. When healthy Crawford was the perfect back for the Air Raid, able to make a cut and get upfield, able to lineup and catch a pass and able to block.

Kennedy McKoy

McKoy was hard to miss in 2016. As coaches went through fall camp and the first games, McKoy kept proving he was the real deal. Former runningbacks coach Ja’Juan Seider had this quote about McKoy

I don’t worry about him at all. He blocks well. He understands his assignments well. He’s a smart kid. I don’t think anything we’re doing now is too much for him. We have seven more games and we’re going to need him. I look for him to play a lot.

Martell Pettaway

The plan in 2016 was for Pettaway to redshirt and learn the system. That didn’t happen as Rushel Shell suffered an injury plagued senior season, Justin Crawford was banged up and Kennedy McKoy was nicked. When the Mountaineers played the Iowa State Cyclones, Crawford and McKoy started but were unable to finish, so Dana Holgorsen burned Pettaway’s redshirt. Pettaway responded with 30 carries for 181 yards and a score.

Elijah Wellman

The unsung hero of the group, the fullback. Wellman does all of the dirty work for the runningbacks, blocking lineman and linebackers, taking on guys at the point of attack. Wellman was voted a 2016 Iron Mountaineer, an accolade which is voted on by players and given annually to those who excel in the off-season strength and conditioning program.

Alec Sinkfield

Sinkfield comes to the Mountaineers as a 3-star prospect from Florida. Sinkfield has the versatility that the West Virginia coaches love. He can help in the return game and as a receiver. Several recruiting sites had him listed as a receiver instead of running back.

Tevin Bush

Tevin Bush is a 3-star recruit out of New Orleans, Louisiana and has already been named the Mountaineers most exciting newcomer. Standing 5’-8” and weighin 170, Bush immediately draws comparisons to former WVU highlight reel Tavon Austin.

The sparkplug accumulated more than 2,500 all-purpose yards and scored 29 touchdowns as senior. Bush is also a sprinter during track season and ranked among the fastest players on the football-camp circuit last summer.