After months of talk and speculation about what the 2017 season will hold for West Virginia, the wait is finally over. The Mountaineers opened its fall camp today. It’s an exciting time for us, as fans, and even more so for the coaches and players. While most players have been around through the spring training and practices, the start of fall camp is one of the first times that everyone from the team will be together. It’s the point in the season that some of the major questions being asked about this team will start to be answered.
This is the opportunity for veterans and returning starters to cement their roles at the top of the depth chart. Perhaps the most exciting thing to watch, however, is how the new players handle themselves as they try to earn a higher spot on the depth chart.
At receiver, newcomers Dominique Maiden and Reggie Roberson will be looking to make an early impact. The WR position lost its two best players after last season, and that gives these guys an opportunity to earn some significant playing time.
Running backs Tevin Bush, who shined in spring ball, and Alec Sinkfield look to be competing for a 4th string position. With the way the Mountaineers rotate backs, and with potential injuries, it will be crucial for one of these two to be ready to play.
With the defense losing so many starters after last season, it will give some newcomers a chance to earn some playing time. West Virginia recruited the safety position heavily last season and freshman Derrek Pitts is looking like the early standout from the new guys. With guys like Exree Loe, Kenny Robinson, Collin Smith, Ricky Johns, and E.J. Brown all looking to earn a spot, this could be the most exciting position to watch.
At corner, transfers Hakeem Bailey and Fontez Davis along with Syracuse transfer, Corey Winfield will have a their chance to earn game reps in a position that is returning very little experience. All have shown some strength in the past, and with some effort though, they should be able to make some impacts this year.
The linebacker position will have to fill in the loss of Justin Arndt and Sean Walters from a year ago, look for JUCO transfer Quondarius Qualls to get a serious look with the first team.
The defensive line will be bringing in transfer Ezekiel Rose, and freshman Lamonte McDougle and Darius Stills. With not as much experience returning on DL, it’s possible that they may end up with a good bit of playing time.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a preseason WVU article without mentioning new QB Will Grier. While everything that could be written about him has already been said, this will be one of the first times that he’ll be with the entire 2017 offense. He’s already shown to be a great leader on the team, and hopefully can help some of the new guys acclimate to their new roles.
It’s an exciting time to be a Mountaineer fan. Ask almost anyone and they’ll tell you that something feels different about this year. With so many new faces, and a lot of proven talent, the air is full with hopeful optimism and that all comes to fruition today. Get ready everyone, Mountaineer football is here.
Stayed tuned to DubVNation.com for all the latest news from fall camp.