Connect with us

Opinion

Potential Breakout Player Candidates for WVU Football in 2024

Published

on

WVU Football LB Josiah Trotter
Kelsie LeRose / WVSN

In 2023, WVU benefited from several players who had “breakout” type years. And while some believe West Virginia can contend for the Big 12 title as presently constructed, history shows some unexpected production will be needed in order for that to happen.

So who are some potential “breakout” player candidates for West Virginia in 2024? To set some criteria, a player can’t already be an established star or even a key contributor and be considered a “breakout” performer. The idea is that the player is either new to the team, has yet to fully reach his potential and/or is unknown to the casual fan. For example, Jahiem White and Traylon Ray would classify as “breakout” players for 2023. Beanie Bishop could as well.

Josiah Trotter

There was one player who stood out more than any other through the WVU football spring session – Josiah Trotter. Trotter, who missed the entire 2023 season after suffering a leg injury during spring practice one year ago, is gearing up to finally live up to the hype in 2024.

Asti: Look for WVU LB Josiah Trotter to Make Immediate Impact

West Virginia head coach Neal Brown raved about Trotter and the immediate impact he could have up while watching him at practice last year. Brown was then let gutted and devastated when he learned the three-star recruit’s Mountaineer career would be delayed. With Trotter now finally back out on the practice field, Brown is once again predicting big things from Trotter.

Rodney Gallagher III

WVU’s star recruit from their 2024 class still has time to become a star as a Mountaineer, but it may have to happen in a way different from what he expected. Rodney Gallagher put in work to impress coaches throughout the spring, but he did that as more than just as a receiver. Gallagher also took snaps on defense at nickel.

The occasional snaps at nickel do not mean he’s fully changing positions or that disgruntled with how he’s being handled, but does show an added incentive to figure out the best possible way to get Gallagher involved. Brown has been open about having reasonable expectations for Gallagher early in his college career due to his initial position change from most playing quarterback in high school.

Rodney Gallagher Switches Jersey Number as Part of Receiving Opportunity on Defense

There’s still plenty of time for Gallagher to make an impact as a Mountaineer, but it may also be difficult to earn too many opportunities in the offense with the emergence of other young receivers like Traylon Ray and Hudson Clement last year and the addition of veteran transfers Jaden Bray and Justin Robinson this offseason. WVU wide receivers coach Bilal Marshall talked about where Gallagher stands as a receiver as he enters his sophomore season and what he expects from the four-star recruit moving forward.

Marshall said Gallagher is still not where he would like him to be as a route runner, but covers up a lot of his mistakes through effort. He called Rodney a “ball player” and said he likes to watch him work.

Ty French

Much the same way they did with Davoan Hawkins, the WVU staff decided to take a shot on Ty French, a player who has been dominating the FCS level. West Virginia feels French is ready to test his talents against major conference competition.

And that’s not too much of a surprise considering French’s experience and impact over the last three seasons. He earned All-American honors as a freshman, sophomore and senior. In four seasons, playing in 41 games, he racked up 239 tackles (125 solo), 61 tackles for loss, 34.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles and three recoveries, an interception and seven pass breakups.

French was particularly dominant over the last two seasons, recording 143 tackles (77 solo), 38.5 tackles for loss, 22 sacks, four forced fumbles, an interception and seven pass breakups.

Reid Carico

The Mountaineers secured a big transfer addition in highly coveted linebacker Reid Carrico. He would quyalgify as a “breakout” candidate as a newcomer who has yet to receive significant playing time in college.

Carrico decided to transfer due to being buried on the Buckeye’s depth chart. But despite his struggles to get on the field at Ohio State, Carrico has tons of talent. He was a consensus four-star recruit out of high school, compiling offers from the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Florida, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Penn State, Tennessee and many others.

Asti: WVU LB Reid Carrico Will Help Elevate Pass Rush, Teammates

Carrico can excel in zone coverage and uses his elite acceleration and closing speed to cause problems for any quarterback. Joining the Mountaineers could be just the opportunity for Carrico to show his true ability and do so in a major conference.

If nothing else, Carrico now provides some necessary depth at a position lacking reliable bodies.

Preston Fox

While there’s an argument to be made that Preston Fox had a breakout season in 2023, the possibility that he could be even better and the WVU offense could be even better this coming fall make him a candidate again. Unlike the others, Fox is a veteran and most who follow the program closely are probably aware of his story as a local product out of Morgantown High School.

Fox caught 26 balls for 286 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns while earning five starts last season. Even though the overall receiver group is deeper and should be better, Fox now has the trust of Garrett Greene, one of his close friends on the team, and could become a safe option if a big play breaks down. Fox could also make his presence felt in the return game.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get WVSN in your mailbox!

Enter your email address to subscribe to WVSN and receive notifications of new posts by email.

COMPLETE COVERAGE