TRAINING CAMP CHECK-IN
NFL training camps have started for all 32 teams and there are currently 26 West Virginia Mountaineers alumni spread out across 19 teams. Some of these guys are looking to make their case for first-team reps, while others — such as Wendell Smallwood and Tavon Austin — may be fighting for their spot on the 53-man roster when cuts are finished on August 31st.
I’ll try to keep updates on everyone coming as training camp continues and cuts are made, but let’s go ahead and look at some of the highlights from the first couple days of camp.
GRIER IS RIGHT AT HOME IN CAROLINA
The Carolina Panthers are holding training camp in Spartansburg, South Carolina — about an hour south of Charlotte — and Will Grier has wasted no time in showing off what he can do on the field. The Panthers had their third practice of camp on Saturday, and Grier was handed the reins to the first team offense as starting quarterback Cam Newton took the day off. Grier made some noise throughout social media with a perfect 40-yard pass to Curtis Samuel in 7-on-7’s, further putting to bed the ridiculous notion that he lacks the necessary arm strength for an NFL starter.
Curtis Samuel vs Donte Jackson from Will Grier pic.twitter.com/XEtXdNSWtA— Bill Voth (@PanthersBill) July 27, 2019
Grier is competing against Kyle Allen and former Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke. Grier spoke to The Post and Courier about growing up in Charlotte as a Carolina fan, and now having the opportunity to play for his childhood team.
THE WILD & WONDERFUL WHITES OF WEST VIRGINIA
Former West Virginia favorite and G.A.M. Kevin White is looking to rejuvenate his NFL career out in the desert. White signed a one-year contract to play for Kliff Kingsbury and the Arizona Cardinals during the offseason, after struggling through numerous injuries during his time with the Chicago Bears. The seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft is showing glimpses of what we saw from his in his time as a Mountaineer so far in training camp. White turned some heads on Thursday when he hauled in a pass from Kyler Murray while being tightly covered.
Meanwhile, in the AFC West, younger brother Kyzir White is looking to pick up from where he left off before suffering a knee injury in the 2018 season. Kyzir sat Friday’s practice out to rest, but was back in action and mic’d up on Sunday.
ODDS AND ENDS
- Seattle rookie receiver Gary Jennings Jr. was a guest on the Seahawks’ YouTube series ‘Driving with Gee’ where he talked about his high school football days, how former Mountaineer receivers coach Tyron Carrier helped him make one change to become a great receiver, and what he likes to do in his downtime.
- Trevon Wesco got some first-team reps in a two tight-end formation during the New York Jets’ practice on Saturday. Wesco didn’t waste any time to make his presence known on the field.
Trevon Wesco just had a massive de-cleating block on Jeremy Clark to spring Cannon. #Jets— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) July 27, 2019
- Tennessee Titans fourth-round linebacker David Long Jr. is doing what he does best — delivering crushing blows. Long finished up Sunday’s practice with an exclamation point when he drilled a Titans running back. ESPN’s Titans beat writer Turron Davenport caught up with Long after practice.
- Kenny Bigelow, who signed with New Orleans as an undrafted free agent, was waived by the Saints on Thursday with injury designation. Bigelow cleared waivers and has been placed on IR.
While Best Virginia didn’t make it past the four-time defending TBT champion Overseas Elite on Saturday, there appears to be at least one silver lining in their 80-68 loss. According to a tweet from Best Virginia general manager/forward John Flowers, there were numerous professional scouts in attendance and Nate Adrian ended up getting an offer to begin his professional career overseas.
If anything came out of this tbt thing at least we got Nate a offer to play overseas ...played great in the little bit of time he had and impressed a few coaches to get his pro career started! #wvnation #proudbigbro— john flowers (@jflow41) July 28, 2019
Adrian finished Best Virginia’s two-game stint in Richmond with 2 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals in just over 26 minutes of playing time.
Alek Manoah made his professional baseball debut on Saturday evening for the Vancouver Canadians, the Class A Short Season affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. The No. 11 overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft pitched a scoreless inning in the bottom of the 1st, allowing one hit and striking out two batters. Manoah’s first pitch as a pro? A strike, naturally.
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