West Virginia offensive coordinator Gerad Parker and defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley spoke to the media Monday morning following the Mountaineers’ third spring practice.
The conversations with both quickly turned to how some of WVU’s underclassmen and newcomers have progressed over the winter and how they have looked for far this spring. Parker and Lesley talked at length about a few underclassmen and newcomers that have stood out thus far.
Kaden Prather – Fr. Wide Receiver
Prather was one of the highest-rated recruits in WVU’s 2021 recruiting class. A freshman from Germantown, Maryland, Prather has enrolled early and is on-campus and practicing this spring.
Parker: “KP is here with us and really starting to learn how to be a college guy. The guys have really embraced him, they really like him. He’s really conscientious and works and he’s made some plays early in the spring, which always helps.”
Devell Washington – R-Fr. Wide Receiver
Washington saw the field less than WVU’s other true freshmen receivers, Sam Brown and Reese Smith, last season, appearing in just two games and not making a single reception.
Parker: “First real spring for Devell Washington. He’s really embracing learning and has still got to take some steps in that department. He’s a really good, strong kid who’s worked really hard in the weight room.”
Garrett Greene – R-Fr. Quarterback
With the transfer of Austin Kendall, Greene appears to have the inside track to be the primary backup to Jarret Doege in 2021, although WVU coach Neal Brown said he is not naming any starters this spring.
Parker: “Him and Doege have been great at preparing. They’re going to push each other in a very positive way. It’s his first run on really getting meaningful reps. He’s handling it good. He knows the offense well enough now where he has answers not only when it goes right, but he’s able to realize exactly what he did wrong.”
Doug Nester – Jr. Offensive Tackle (Virginia Tech)
Nester, a West Virginia native, transferred to WVU from Virginia Tech over the winter and is on-campus this spring. His experience with the Hokies, 17 starts over the previous two seasons, figures to put him on the fast track to win a starting job along the offensive line this season.
Parker: “He’s a sharp guy and we’ve got to catch him up as quick as possible. He’s eager to learn and a joy to have here. There’s some things that will be hiccups just because he’s learning a new offense but for the most part, he’s played football upfront, he’s got a reputation for being a tough guy and he’ll pick it up pretty fast. We’re encouraged to see him grow quickly here.”
Daryl Porter Jr. – So. Cornerback & Jackie Matthews – Sr. Cornerback
West Virginia has an opening at outside cornerback following the transfer of Dreshun Miller last month. Neither Porter nor Matthews played much in 2020, but they appear to be the frontrunners for that starting spot this spring.
Lesley: “The [cornerback] competition is going to be fierce and those two guys are guys we talked about really before anybody left. That those were two guys that had to step up and be contributors, and they can be. Jackie and DP both have made tremendous strides just in the first couple days of practice. I think Jackie has stood out probably a little more up to this point.”
Akheem Mesidor – So. Defensive Line
Mesidor led the Mountaineers with five sacks as a true freshman last season. With Darius Stills off to the NFL, opposing offenses might see Mesidor as the biggest threat on WVU’s defensive line going forward.
Lesley: “We’re playing him at both defensive tackle [spots] inside. Akheem’s a little heavier, he’s having to adjust to carrying the extra weight. If he’s going to garner more attention from an offense, then the other guys around him have to step up, period.”
Sean Martin – So. Defensive Line
Martin, another in-state product, played in four games last season but struggled with body control as a true freshman, according to coaches. A problem that seems to still be plaguing him this spring.
Lesley: “Sean has done well, he’s had a good offseason. The thing about Sean is, Sean is 6-foot-5-inches tall, 280 pounds, 82- or 83.5-inch arms and that’s a lot of body to control. And at the of the day, he’s still a 19-year-old. He just has to get strong enough, really, to support his own body and learn how to play and play with that body type.”