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

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WVU Football WR Rodney Gallagher
Ed Thompson / WVSN

A key West Virginia player is changing his number. Rodney Gallagher will now wear No. 24, switching from No. 2, the number he wore in high school and during his freshman season as a Mountaineer.

The official WVU roster page already reflects Gallagher’s number change. Even though number changes are more common before spring practice, Gallagher’s switch to 24 isn’t much of a surprise.

While still trying to earn more opportunities as a receiver, Gallagher also took snaps on the defensive side of the ball as a nickel throughout the spring. Switching to 24 will allow him to be out on the field as a member of the defense alongside safety Aubrey Burks – the program’s veteran No. 2.

“He’s pushing to be a starter at receiver and he’s a guy we want to get him the ball. He’s also a guy that could potentially, if he stays, could give us some snaps at nickel,” said head coach Neal Brown during one of his press conferences towards the end of spring.

In an effort clear up any confusion about Brown’s “if he stays” comment, Gallagher “two-way guy and no I’m not leaving” as his own response to the news.

The occasional snaps at nickel do not mean he’s fully changing positions, 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.

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 transfer Jaden Bray 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.

While discussing how Gallagher has been progressing this offseason, Marshall also added that the high school star quarterback turned college wide receiver has put on 10 pounds of muscle since he last appeared in a game.

At the start of the spring practice session, Brown was asked about year two for Gallagher. Brown explained Gallagher has worked really hard this off-season and is a much better true receiver now than he was at any point last year. At that time, Brown said he expects Gallagher to be more involved in the offense beyond gadget plays etc moving forward.

Rodney Gallagher, a product of nearby Western Pennsylvania based Laurel Highlands High School, made 10 catches for 74 yards as a receiver and was also used on gadget plays. Head coach Neal Brown recently said he believes Gallagher can be star by gilding his body and gaining more experience at the position.

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