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2018 West Virginia Football Position Preview: The Wide Receivers

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A pair of elite veterans headline a deep receiving corps looking to help Will Grier put up gaudy numbers

East Carolina v West Virginia Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The wide receivers for West Virginia have been incredibly prolific since Dana Holgorsen arrived in Morgantown. Six of the nine 1,000 yard receiving seasons in school history occurred under Dana’s watch. Players like Kevin and Ka’Raun White, Shelton Gibson, Stedman Bailey, and Tavon Austin have carved out spots in the WVU record books that will be be very long remembered.

With Will Grier slinging the football this year, Gary Jennings, David Sills V, and their position mates will look to challenge all the records. 2018 has all the makings of a record setting offensive year in Morgantown.

West Virginia Mountaineer Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

Number Player Height Weight Year Depth
Number Player Height Weight Year Depth
1 TJ Simmons 6'-2" 200 R-Sophomore Z-1
8 Marcus Simms 6'-0" 194 Junior X-2
12 Gary Jennings, Jr 6'-2" 215 Senior Y-1
13 David Sills, V 6'-4" 210 Senior X-1
16 William Crest 6'-1" 214 R-Senior Y-3
19 Druw Bowen 6'-2" 209 R-Sophomore Y-2
22 Anthony Delperico 5'-8" 208 R-Freshman scout
24 Roman Hawkins 6'1" 172 Freshman scout
27 Kwincy Hall 5'-5" 154 Freshman scout
29 Chase Riley 6'-0" 185 R-Freshman scout
36 Ricky Johns 6'-3" 193 R-Freshman scout
37 Kolby Mack 5'-11" 168 Freshman scout
82 Dominique Maiden 6'-5" 207 Senior Z-2
83 Bryce Wheaton 6'-3" 210 Freshman scout
84 Jovani Haskins 6'-4" 245 R-Sophomore TE(H)-2
85 Sam James 6'-0" 165 Freshman scout
85 TJ Banks 6'-5" 253 Freshman scout
86 Randy Fields, Jr 6'-2" 193 Freshman scout
88 Trevon Wesco 6'-4" 274 R-Senior TE(H)-1
89 Dillon Spalding 6'-1" 215 Freshman scout
91 Matt Bezjak 6'-5" 252 R-Sophomore scout
Mountaineer Receivers and Tight Ends WVUSports.com

THE STARTERS

David Sills V, Gary Jennings, Jr, TJ Simmons and Trevon Wesco are your four starters listed. Those first two names need no introduction. It is easy to forget that Jennings had a 1,000 yard season last year, mostly because it is very difficult to forget that Sills caught 18 touchdown passes.

While Sills was productive in the red zone and, even more importantly, the end zone, he still registered only 980 yards on 60 receptions. It’s almost unbelievable that a WR scored 18 times in a season in which he failed to score in the final three games and only broke the 100 yard threshold 4 times. While it is almost impossible to think that Sills wouldn’t have been more productive had Will Grier’s hand not been blown to pieces, it is still worth noting that if he can become more consistent down to down and between the 20’s he could be ripe for a record setting season in both yards and TDs.

Gary Jennings was the workhorse who kept the sticks moving and piled up receptions, broke 1,000 yards, and didn’t score after week one. It’s a bit of a head scratcher. Jennings caught 97 passes, amassed nearly 1,100 yards and only saw the end zone once, in the opener against Virginia Tech. For comparison, he caught two touchdowns during the 2016 season, in which he only caught 10 passes. We can only hope that Jennings TD numbers were something of a fluke and he too can possibly set his sights on a record breaking season.

TJ Simmons is listed as the starting WR-Z according to the depth chart released prior to the Big 12 media days. Simmons is a 6’2” transfer from Alabama. TJ is a former three star recruit who has two years left to play at WVU. The only stat he recorded during his freshman season at Alabama was a lone tackle. Hope is that there is talent and speed that hasn’t yet had the chance to show itself on the field and that Simmons blends with Jennings and Sills and creates too many threats for defenses to account for.

Trevon Wesco is listed as the the starting tight end. On the West Virginia roster, all five players at this position are listed as “TE/FB”. How much or little they are used in either role is yet to be seen. Wesco, a native of Martinsburg, who spent time at Lackawanna CC before joining his home state’s side, has caught one pass in each of the last two seasons.

THE BACKUPS

The Mountaineers list their second string WR’s as Marcus Simms, Druw Bowen and Dominique Maiden.

Simms is lightning fast and has shown it in both the passing attack and in the return game. Simms caught 35 balls for 663 yards and 5 touchdowns a year ago. His consistency catching balls sometimes appears to be less than ideal, but his potential in the return game is electric. Hopefully he can transfer more of that to the offensive side of the game.

Druw Bowen is a Charleston native with a 6’2” frame. He caught one pass last year and recorded no stats in the majority of games. Hopefully the in state product will find a way to provide consistency in the second unit.

Dominique Maiden is an intriguing prospect. Standing 6’5”, he’s a big target who could be used in the red zone or just as a vertical threat for one the other end of Grier’s big arm. His brother ran track at Fresno State. Maiden spent two years at Riverside CC.

Jovani Haskins comes to WVU as a transfer from Miami. The former three star prospect is undoubtedly talented, but, again, how this position will or will not be utilized in the offense is anyone’s guess.

HIGHLIGHTS

Video Credit: DougityDoug