MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia’s quarterback competition became a three-man race Wednesday when transfer Clint Trickett announced he’ll be joining the Mountaineers later this month.
The former Florida State quarterback will join junior Paul Millard and redshirt freshman Ford Childress in the race to replace Geno Smith as West Virginia’s starting quarterback next season. For fans who suspected WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson were being coy about not naming a starter until fall, Trickett’s addition validates the race remains wide open.
Trickett also considered transferring to Auburn, where five quarterbacks are scrambling to impress new head coach Gus Malzahn, and South Florida, which seemingly offered the easiest path to playing time, albeit in the soon-to-be-obscure Big East.
In an interview with Warchant.com, Trickett lauded Holgerson for being “a straight-up guy … (who) thinks I could come in there and compete, and that’s all I’m asking for. By no means is this a guaranteed starting job and I have to go in there in compete.”
A redshirt junior, Trickett is scheduled to graduate this spring, making him eligible to play immediately at another FBS program. He announced via Twitter his intentions of returning to Morgantown, where he lived until ninth grade when his father Rick was WVU’s offensive line coach.
Trickett played in 16 games at FSU the past two seasons and started two games.
Trickett will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
After he quarterbacked the Morgantown High freshman team, Trickett moved to Tallahassee when his father became the offensive line coach at Florida State in January 2007. Clint subsequently played his final three years of high school football at North Florida Christian, not far from the FSU campus.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Trickett completed 22-of-34 passes for 272 yards last year while backing up EJ Manuel, who became the 16th overall pick in last weekend’s NFL draft. In 2011 Trickett briefly surpassed the banged-up Manuel and made two starts in back-to-back 35-30 losses at Clemson and Wake Forest. He threw for 336 yards and three touchdowns on 24-of-38 passing against Clemson.
He finished the 2011 season completing 44-of-72 passes for 675 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions.
After entering FSU spring practice at No. 1 on the depth chart, Trickett apparently fell behind redshirt freshman Jameis Winston, a five-star prospect who was among the nation’s top-rated quarterbacks in the 2012 signing class.
Trickett was on hand for WVU’s Gold-Blue spring game and watched film with coaches during his visit. He told Warchant.com that WVU “felt like it was the perfect situation for me because the offense fits what I do. I think that’s why they were so attractive to me because I fit everything with their passing game and what they are trying to accomplish.”
Trickett is a wiry athlete who had trouble adding weight in high school. But in 2011 he learned he suffered from celiac disease, a gluten intolerance that can lead to malnutrition, weight loss and other intestinal symptoms.
UPDATE: Holgorsen releases statement
“WVU football welcomes Clint Trickett home. He basically grew up in Morgantown, and I know he feels very comfortable here,” Holgorsen said Wednesday afternoon in a release noting Trickett would be placed on scholarship for the 2013-14 academic year. “He’s an excellent student and grew up around the game of football, which shows in his composure on the field. I am excited that he has decided to finish his career as a Mountaineer.”