Football, Sports, WVU Sports

WVU Football Position Preview: Greene looks to make a jump in 2nd season as starting QB

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia’s quarterback room was in an unfamiliar spot heading into last season.  For the first time in Neal Brown’s then five-year tenure — and the first time since 2013 — the Mountaineers were going into the season without a transfer quarterback.

Brown was instead betting on high school recruits Garrett Greene and Nicco Marchiol to battle it out for the starting job.

Brown’s trust in his in-house options paid off as Greene won the starting job and, after a bumpy start to the year, ended up being one of the highest-rated quarterbacks in the country last season. Greene’s 76.7 quarterback rating (QBR) was 19th in the nation.

“I don’t necessarily think there’s more pressure on him going into this fall than there was last fall,” WVU coach Neal Brown told The Dominion Post last month. “I think the deal for him is there’s so much room for growth. He can make a big jump.”

Greene struggled the first month of the year with injuries and inconsistency but exploded when the calendar flipped to October. The Mountaineers scored less than 30 points just once over the final eight games of the season after Greene found his footing.

The Florida native finished the year with 29 total touchdowns, 16 passing and 13 running, with just four interceptions. He threw for 2,406 yards while rushing for 772. 

The knock on Greene was been his completion percentage, which was just 53% last season. 

The number of deep shots built in WVU’s offense means Greene will never have an elite completion percentage, but by cleaning up the shorter throws, Brown believes Greene can take a big step forward in his senior season.

“Completion percentage becomes third-down efficiency, it becomes touchdown percentage in the redzone,” Brown explained. “I really believe he’s got another significant jump in production.”

Despite losing the starting battle a year ago, Marchiol still helped the team quite a bit throughout the season. Coming in as an injury replacement, Marchiol helped the team to a win against Pitt in the third game of the season before making his first career start in a 20-13 win over Texas Tech the following week.

Marchiol is entering his third year with the Mountaineers and his second acting as Greene’s primary backup.

“Nicco would be right in that conversation as the most improved player we’ve got on offense,” Brown said during spring practices. “I’m really pleased with what he’s doing.”

A left-hander from Arizona, Marchiol finished with 247 passing yards and two touchdowns with 133 rushing yards and another score.

Third on the depth chart for WVU in 2024 could be BYU transfer Ryder Burton, who the team added to the roster following spring camp. Burton, a Utah native, will be a redshirt sophomore in 2024. 

As opposed to WVU’s previous transfer quarterbacks, Burton will come in as a developmental prospect, effectively replacing former WVU quarterback Sean Boyle, who entered the transfer portal this offseason. Burton never saw the field for the Cougars.

West Virginia’s high school recruit in the 2024 class was Washington D.C. native Khalil Wilkins. 

“We had him in camp and then we had him in seven-on-seven and the day he was here for seven-on-seven, he really put on a show,” Brown said of Wilkins on signing day. “He made all kinds of big-time throws…It’s going to be a developmental process for him, but he can run and he’s got all kinds of arm talent.”

Rated as a three-star prospect, Wilkins, another southpaw, threw for 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior at Riverdale Baptist High School.

Rounding out WVU’s quarterback room are walk-ons Jackson Crist, a redshirt junior, and Scott Kean, a redshirt sophomore.

Projected Depth Chart

Garrett Greene, Sr
Nicco Marchiol, R-So
Ryder Burton, R-Fr (BYU)
Khalil Wilkins, Fr
Jackson Crist, R-Jr
Scott Kean, R-So