MORGANTOWN. W.Va. — West Virginia true freshman Daikiel Shorts was impressive enough at second-team outside receiver his coaches gave him a shot at starting in the slot.
And Shorts impressed even more.
“In one day that kid showed he’s got the mental capacity to line up at the (inside) position and do some really good things,” beamed offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson on Friday.
You’ll recall Dawson blistering WVU’s slot receivers this week for missed blocks and sloppy patterns, transgressions he said were blatantly apparent to receivers coach Lonnie Galloway, big boss Dana Holgorsen and the underperforming players themselves.
“We film practice from three different angles,” Dawson said. “If you can’t sit there and watch and tell ‘My effort is horrible,’ then you’ve got a problem, you’re delusional.”
Enter Shorts, the newcomer from Elkton, Md., whose performance in the slot position immediately elevated Dawson’s spirits: “Put it this way: I’m more pleased with the inside receivers already.”
Shorts graduated from Eastern Christian Academy one semester early and enrolled at WVU in January, a head start he put to good use by showing coaches how easily he could comprehend the system. Following his debut practice at inside receiver Thursday—during which time Shorts worked with first-teamers when the offense spread to a four-wide set—the coaches suggested the move was permanent.
“He didn’t have any major busts,” Galloway said. “Besides just cleaning up a little technical stuff, he did a good job.”
While most of the signing day buzz focused on four-star receiver Shelton Gibson, it is Shorts setting the standard in preseason camp.
“He’s a mature kid. He’s a smart kid. He likes to compete,” Galloway said. “He’s not afraid to stick his face in there. He doesn’t act like a freshman. He came in here hungry and he wants to play.”