West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen dropped a slight bomb when he announced that thanks in part to the new four-game redshirt rule that allows players to play in up to four games without losing their redshirt status, freshman Trey Lowe would also play in the Camping World Bowl. This should excite Mountaineer fans because now you have the opportunity to see both the immediate and long term future of the program in a bowl game.
Jack Allison has seemingly made the first big progression of his career when he went from struggling backup last year, thankfully ineligible to play, to solid backup to Will Grier. Rumors swirled that last year, during Jack’s first year with the Mountaineers, if he had been eligible to play that Chris Chugunov would have beaten him out for the backup spot regardless. This year however, reports from fall camp and from the head coach sing a different tune.
“I think Jack has been outstanding, when it comes to a backup quarterback. The time that he’s been able to go in and play, I thought, he went in and played pretty well. Guys change quickly when they get out of the backup mentality, the backup role.”
Head coach Dana Holgorsen added during his mid-week press conference, “Guys change. I’ve been excited and encouraged to see what he’s [Jack Allison] been doing with the practice reps that he’s gotten over the last couple of weeks. He’s attacked it the right way, and I’ve been satisfied with that.”
Allison is the latest transfer quarterback for West Virginia, who has seen success since joining the Big 12. First Clint Trickett came to West Virginia from Florida State and guided the program out of a miserable 2013 season back to bowl eligibility in 2014. Then JUCO transfer Skyler Howard took over late in 2014 and helped the team win eight games in 2015 and their first bowl game as a Big 12 member against Arizona State. In 2016, Howard led a power-run heavy team to 10 wins, their first since 2011.
2017 and 2018 saw Will Grier, a former Florida Gator, take over the reigns of the West Virginia offense and with his touch and precision, the offense was one of the most explosive and dangerous in the nation. Now comes Allison, a four-star transfer from Miami-Florida Hurricanes, completing the Florida trifecta of transfer quarterbacks.
Fans should be hopeful with Allison, who was rated the 6th best QB prospect as a senior by ESPN and held a multitude of Power 5 offers, including Alabama, Tennessee, and Missouri. Allison left Miami when Al Golden was let go for former Georgia head coach Mark Richt. Richt likes his quarterbacks to be more mobile and Allison chose to transfer for a system that would allow him to use his arm.
Lowe, a three-star prospect out of Bolivar, Tennessee is a dual-threat passer recruited by former offensive coordinator Jake Spavital. Lowe appears to be a diamond in the rough given that late into his recruiting process, multiple high level schools like Tennessee were rumored to be trying to lure the prospect away from West Virginia. Lowe stuck with his commitment and signed with the Mountaineers.
Lowe will get a chance to show what he can do in the bowl game and this bowl game will go a long way to determining who will be the starter in 2018. Allison brings the predigree and tall frame that Holgorsen loves from his quarterbacks. Lowe provides the added dimension of speed that helped the Mountaineers win 10 games in 2016. Now the question is, can they handle the spotlight?