The Dominion Post  

How WVU’s offense stacks up for spring drills

Created on:   Fri, Feb 23, 2018   11:49 PM

Last modified:   Fri, Feb 23, 2018   11:49 PM

The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — Spring practice begins Feb. 27 for a WVU football team expected to compete for a Big 12 championship — and possibly more.

The table was set for a big run when quarterback Will Grier and wide receiver David Sills announced they would be back for their senior campaigns, after moving up in the WVU record books in 2017.

Jake Spavital took over the play-calling duties from head coach Dana Holgorsen last season and is entering his second year as the offensive coordinator.

With seven starters on offense returning, along with one of the top recruiting classes Holgorsen has been able to bring in since he arrived, in 2011, the Mountaineers hope to put up more consistent numbers than they did last fall.

Here is the offensive position outlook for WVU heading into spring camp:


Grier is the unquestioned starter after passing for 3,490 yards and 34 touchdowns in 10 games before breaking his throwing hand, against Texas, in mid-November.

The battle for the backup spot will be critical this spring between Miami transfer (now eligible) Jack Allison and junior Chris Chugunov.

Chugunov replaced Grier versus the Longhorns and got the starting nod at Oklahoma and against Utah, in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. It was a struggle for Chugunov, and Allison is a former 4-star recruit. Allison redshirted in his lone season with the Hurricanes and sat out last year at WVU because of NCAA transfer rules.

Freshman Trey Lowe, an early enrollee, will get reps this spring, but the coaching staff will likely redshirt him.

David Isreal announced Wednesday that he will transfer and is no longer with the program.


The bowl game was a glimpse of what the WVU backfield will be in 2018. Justin Crawford skipped his final college game and gave Kennedy McKoy his chance.

McKoy, a junior, is the likely favorite to be the featured back after running for 601 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Fellow junior Martell Pettaway could be the bruiser between the tackles.

Speedy back Tevin Bush played a limited role as a freshman and Alec Sinkfield redshirted. Expect those two to get their fair share of reps this spring.

The loss of fullback Elijah Wellman will make an impact with no clear favorite to replace him.

Miami transfer Jovani Haskins and Elijah Drummond will likely start the spring at the top of the depth chart.


Gone is Ka’Raun White, but a host of key contributors return, led by Sills and Gary Jennings. The duo combined for 2,076 yards and 19 touchdowns — 18 to Sills.

Marcus Simms returns for his junior year as the outside deep threat. Alabama transfer T.J. Simmons is a likely favorite to replace White. He played special teams in his one season with the Crimson Tide, but is a former 4-star recruit.

Reggie Roberson, who played sparingly as a true freshman last year, Dominique Maiden and Druw Bowen are other names to keep an eye on.


Kyle Bosch, a three-year starter, is gone as the starting right guard, but the rest of the unit is back.

At the flanks, tackles Yodny Cajuste decided against going to the NFL, and Colton McKivitz is a two-year starter. Josh Sills filled in as a freshman when Grant Lingafelter was hurt in the opener, against Virginia Tech, and didn’t relinquish his starting spot at left guard.

Center Matt Jones steadily improved as a first-year starter and will look to build on that this spring.

As for replacing Bosch, senior Isaiah Hardy has the most experience of those in the mix, but don’t count out Kelby Wickline and Jacob Buccigrossi.


Trevon Wesco is the only tight end-specific player on the roster and the likely favorite to be the starting tight end — however many packages that might be — this season.

Haskins and Drummond will split time between tight end and fullback, depending on formation.


This may be the most meaningful battle of the spring. Evan Staley became the starting kicker halfway through last season, when Mike Molina went out with an injury, and Staley performed well, making 6 of 6 field goal attempts and all 16 extra-point attempts.

However, Houston transfer Luke Hogan and Western Kentucky transfer Skyler Simcox will not go down without a fight.

Simcox converted 25 of 33 field goal attempts from 2015-’16, with a long kick of 52 yards.

He redshirted in 2017 before heading to WVU.