Football, Sports, WVU Sports

WVU wide receiver Kaden Prather hopes to build on second half vs. Kansas

MORGANTOWN — Bryce Ford-Wheaton’s huge step up in production early from the WVU wide receiver corps has him in the top 10 nationally in all major statistical categories through two weeks.

It was later in the second half of last week’s loss to Kansas when the Mountaineers (0-2, 0-1 Big 12) started to flex their muscles with depth, especially from sophomore Kaden Prather.

Prather, a heralded recruit from Montgomery Village, Md., was expected to be a big part of the offense this season, but he struggled in the opener at Pitt, including suffering a costly fumble that led to a Pitt touchdown.

Against the Jayhawks, Prather had six grabs for 79 yards, most coming late when WVU was desperately trying to come back, eventually forcing overtime.

“I never worry about when is [quarterback JT Daniels] going to throw me the ball,” Prather said. “My mindset is on any play the ball can come, so I don’t get down on myself when I don’t get that many targets, because I know at the end of the day, the ball will find me.”

Prather hopes the ball finds him Saturday when the Mountaineers host Towson (2-0 FCS) at 1 p.m. at Milan Puskar Stadium.

Towson is a little over an hour from Prather’s hometown, but there is a family connection for Prather. His cousin, Tyree Foreman, is the running backs coach for the Tigers.

Foreman is also from Maryland and played at Virginia in the late 1990s and early 2000s, then had a cup of tea in the NFL with the then-San Diego Chargers and Chicago Bears.

“He’s my mom’s first cousin,” Prather said. “They pretty much grew up together. It’s really an honor.”

Woods has surgery

Cornerback Charles Woods, who was injured in the first quarter of the Pitt game, had surgery this week on his left ankle and will miss a significant amount of time this season.

It is unclear if Woods, a preseason All-Big 12 selection, will be able to return this season, but his absence hurts what was already an inexperienced secondary.

“It’s an opportunity for others,” head coach Neal Brown said. “We do feel like we have more athleticism in that room with guys that can play.”

Brown mentioned Rashad Ajayi, who started the first two games against Pitt and Kansas, is playing well enough that “we can win with how he’s playing,” though Ajayi did give up a few big pass plays against the Jayhawks.

Wesley McCormick was suspended for the first half against KU because of a targeting call at Pitt, but he played OK when he got in the game.

The rest will be a test with young players, including redshirt freshman Andrew Wilson-Lamp and true freshman Mumu Bin-Wahad.

Veteran Malachi Ruffin started opposite Ajayi against Kansas, but Ruffin has played safety a majority of his career. Bin-Wahad has also played a bit of safety during fall camp.

Other injuries include safety Aubrey Burks, who was banged up against Kansas. He is questionable, as is defensive lineman Jalen Thornton, though Brown said it’s likely Thornton will not play.

Good news on the injury front is guard Jordan White will be back after missing the KU game, and linebacker Tirek Austin-Cave, a Miami transfer, will make his season debut vs. Towson.

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