Best West Virginia Offensive Player
QB Will Grier, Sr.
How much would Florida have loved to have had Grier last year? After all of the PED craziness, Grier was able to start right away last season and became exactly what the Mountaineers were hoping for.
He might have thrown too many interceptions – 12, with four against Oklahoma State – and he missed the last few games after injuring his hand, but he’s a bomber, averaging nine yards per pass with 3,490 yards and 34 scores. He’s perfect for the Big 12 and all the shootouts the Mountaineers will be in.
He’s not huge – with 6-2, 215-pound size – and he doesn’t have a massive arm, but he’s about to fill the Big 12 quarterback star void left by the departure of Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph. When he’s on, forget it – he connected on 70% of his passes six times, and WVU won five of them with the one loss coming to Texas when he got knocked out early.
2. WR David Sills, Sr.
3. WR Gary Jennings, Sr.
4. OT Yodny Cajuste, Sr.
5. RB Kennedy McKoy, Jr.
Best West Virginia Defensive Player
LB David Long, Jr.
While he’s a little bit undersized, the 5-11, 221-pounder missed time early on with a knee injury, and had a shoulder issue this offseason. But when he’s right, he’s one of the Big 12’s most disruptive defenders, finishing with 75 stops with 3.5 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss, and six broken up passes on the weakside.
Very fast and with a knack for always making something big happen, he has the talent and potential to be the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.
2. S Dravon Askew-Henry, Jr.
3. DE Reese Donahue, Jr.
4. S Kenny Robinson, Soph.
5. DE Ezekiel Rose, Sr.
Key Player To A Successful Season
DT Kenny Bigelow, Sr.
The one-time super-recruit for USC had problems with a few knee injuries, and he was just never right or able to do anything for the Trojans. But the 6-3, 300-pound grad transfer is exactly what the Mountaineers needed after losing rising star Lamonte McDougle to a transfer. For a bad run defense, Bigelow has to stay healthy, and he has to be the star on the nose.
Key Game To The West Virginia Season
Oklahoma, Nov. 23
Beating Tennessee to start the season would set the tone, and going to NC State and coming away with a win would be a big deal. In Big 12 play, winning at Texas and/or at Oklahoma State is a must to stay alive in the chase, and there are a whole slew of other concerns along the way.
However, even though it’s about finishing in the top two to get to the Big 12 Championship, beating Oklahoma for the first time since joining the league is a must.
The Mountaineers pulled off the shocker against the Sooners in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl, but they’re 0-6 since making the conference move, including a 59-31 loss last year.
2017 West Virginia Fun Stats
– Onside Kicks: West Virginia 2-of-4 – Opponents 1-of-3
– Time of Possession: Opponents 32:45 – West Virginia 27:15
– Penalties: Opponents 93 for 850 yards – West Virginia 79 for 776 yards