MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Saturday’s revelation that Ford Childress has left school further clouds West Virginia’s offseason quarterback situation.
A two-game starter in 2013 before a torn pectoral muscle shelved him for the season’s final eight weeks, the 6-foot-5 Childress possesses a big-time arm that made him one of the nation’s top-rated pro style quarterbacks coming out of high school. The rising sophomore could have made his case for the Mountaineers starting job during spring drills, especially with incumbent Clint Trickett slated to undergo surgery this week to remedy a torn labrum.
With Trickett reportedly facing up to a six-month rehab, West Virginia could begin spring drills with only two healthy quarterbacks—senior Paul Millard and junior college signee Skyler Howard. (In a curious connection, both hail from the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and neither held an FBS offer coming out of high school.)
One player who holds numerous major-college offers, four-star freshman recruit William Crest of Baltimore, has been committed to WVU since last April. He is expected to sign with West Virginia next month but won’t arrive until summer.
Millard underwhelmed in three starts last season, though his extended relief appearance against Texas featured some noteworthy moments in what became a 47-40 overtime loss. Howard began last season as a virtual unknown at Riverside (Calif.) City College, before piling up 3,151 passing yards and 33 touchdowns. After receiving a late-November scholarship offer from West Virginia, he signed in December and enrolled last week.
Childress’ totals were 36-of-63 passing for 421 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. Though he won his first start 41-7 over Georgia State, the following week saw Maryland whitewash WVU 37-0 in Baltimore, a blowout jump-started by a Childress pick-six. Only after the game did head coach Dana Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson say they learned Childress had played through the pectoral injury.