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3 Things to Watch in Spring: Offense



Photo via WV Metro News

2. Replacing Sills V/Jennings

West Virginia receiver Marcus Simms hauls in a catch for a touchdown at Texas Tech (Photo: WV MetroNews)

It’s never easy to replace a high-caliber, NFL prospect at receiver. What’s even harder is having to replace two of those guys as Gary Jennings and David Sills V have exhausted their eligibility and are off to the next level. The presumed favorite to be “the guy” is rising senior, Marcus Simms.

Simms has been the waiting his turn and if there’s a year he is going to break out, it’s 2019. Mainly because well, it’s his last opportunity too. Simms’ speed is hard to match and he has steadily improved ever since arriving on campus. There’s no doubt that with a full offseason with being labeled as the leader and veteran of this group that he will put up some gaudy numbers.

Other guys to watch out for are redshirt freshmen Sam James Jr. and Bryce Wheaton. Like Simms, James has the ability to take the top off the defense with his speed and could be what everyone hoped Jovon Durante would be and then some. Wheaton has a big frame and can go get those 50/50 balls with his physicality and toughness. Although he has some things to iron out, he could be that red zone threat that Sills was the last few years. I wouldn’t expect it right away, but the raw talent alone could carry him there quicker than anticipated.

Coach Brown commented on the young guys who are looking to step up, “We just got to let them play. Early through four practices, I think Bryce Wheaton has done some things. He looks like a redshirt freshman at times, he’s got to grow. Randy Fields, I’ve been really pleased with him. He’s a smart football player and we move him around a bunch. Sam James has shown some flashes.”

The one that everyone will tend to forget about is junior Tevin Bush. There is no expectation for Bush to put up huge numbers or play his way into the Biletnikoff talk, but he will play a pivotal role in Neal Brown’s offense. It wouldn’t be all that bold to say he probably has the best footwork or shiftiness since Tavon Austin, although they are not exactly the same player. You always have to find ways to get the ball in the hands of your playmaker’s hands and that’s exactly what Bush is, a playmaker. With Sills and Jennings gone the door opens for someone like Bush to provide a spark in the quick pass game.

“Tevin Bush is a guy I’ve been impressed with. He competes, loves to play, he’s made a ton of big plays, had a couple of long touchdowns today. He’s just got to play.” Coach Brown noted.

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