1. Will

    Hey Ian, really appreciate the write up. I figure the least I can do for all the time you’ve dedicated to WVU is give you one (fairly ignorant) WVU fan’s take on what you’ve got here and some additional notes on the WVU roster elements you highlight.
    Allison wasn’t particularly impressive, but he showed some arm strength and made a couple throws. I also thought he showed some of the intangibles you’d look for in a QB, it didn’t seem like he was fazed and didn’t get down when things didn’t go his way. But there were some significant flaws. His timing was way off and he gets knocked over by a stiff breeze because he has approximately 2% body fat and less muscle. It’s hard to know how much the coaching staff was eyeballing the exit sign during bowl prep so I don’t want to discount him too much. And obviously Kendall comes with some questions too since OU never seemed to seriously consider him starter material. But, it’s better to have two junior QBs than one.
    TE/FB/H-Back Brutes: Jovanni Haskins returns, he’s like 6’4, 240. But he’s much more of a receiving TE than a blocker. But he got after it a bit when blocking in the second half of the year and frequently spelled Wesco throughout the season. We’ll see if he gets meaner under Brown but either way, I think he’s going to be a matchup problem for Big 12 teams. I’d guess his development as a blocker will determine how much he sees the field.
    The real potential bruiser is Rs-Fr. TJ Banks. He came to WVU as a TE but a lot of schools wanted him as a DE. He was listed at 6’5, 260 as a high school senior. He was a high three star per 247 and had a few low level ACC and Big Ten offers. I think he’s the dark horse here for a guy who can lineup next to the tackle and mash a LB or DE while still making the defense respect his ability to catch a pass.
    ISO WR: I mean, Marcus Simms all the way. Before he got hurt in the Iowa State game, he was arguably WVU’s best receiver outside the redzone. Even after his body slowed down, he still made some big plays throughout the year. He’s a burner but is also just a hard dude to tackle and keeps his legs moving (although I can’t find any useful highlights of him on Youtube).
    Among the younger receivers, I think Sam James is your other ISO guy. By the end of the year he was the clear leader among the 4 WRs WVU redshirted last year. He was listed at 6’2, 160. So he’s got some height but may not be big enough for a full time role yet. A grad transfer here would not hurt.
    DE/OLB Hybrid: As you note, Gibby didn’t really recruit these guys. But one guy to keep an eye out is Tavis Lee, who I think blueshirted (and definitely redshirted) this year. He came in at 6’3, 225 and won Scout Team Defensive POY. Word is he is pretty athletic. I don’t know if he’s “go out in the flat and cover a Big 12 RB” athletic, but he seems like a potential candidate for that role based on his size and rep.
    The Secondary: I don’t really have anything to add here in terms of the roster (which is somehow perpetually thin at CB and even thin at S this year). But last year’s performance was frustrating. Norwood and Washington both showed the physical ability and the playmaking upside (6.5 TFL, 20 PBUs, 3 INTs, 3 FF between the two) that you might expect from guys who were offered by O$U and Michigan respectively. But so often this year, they were a second late and a foot short. Some of that is because of Big 12 QBs/WRs are unstoppable, but it felt like they weren’t living up to their potential. Maybe it was because this was their first year on campus but I’m hoping to see a lot more out of them this year.
    I’m over Hakeem Bailey, dude is a spring game star and a Big 12 game liability. But he’s all we have (Daryl Worley is STILL the last freshman recruit to start at CB for WVU, I think that is ultimately the reason Holgo is gonna be at Houston this year instead of signing a long extension at WVU). He’s got plenty of tools but they almost never show up on the field. This will be his third and final year here, I hope the light finally comes on but I’m done expecting it.
    Really appreciate you putting out so much to chew on for a team that you only sorta care about. I know Mountaineer nation really dug your write up on Football Study Hall and I’ll try to point more people to this post as well. Thanks, and I hope this wall of text is at least mildly informative.

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