MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Quarterback Ford Childress, who withdrew from West Virginia last week, has enrolled at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas, about a three-hour drive from his hometown of Houston.
The 6-foot-5 Childress, reportedly suspended by coach Dana Holgorsen before leaving WVU, is a rising sophomore who could parlay a productive season at Trinity Valley into a chance to play at another four-year program.
“He is here and enrolled in classes and we are excited to have him,” Trinity Valley coach Brad Smiley confirmed Thursday.
As of Thursday night, West Virginia’s athletics department had yet to issue a public statement verifying or explaining the departure of Childress.
Trinity Valley finished 10-2 last season, won its conference title and ranked No. 5 in the final NJCAA national poll. The Cardinals also romped over Mesa 72-23 in the Heart of Texas Bowl, registering the second-highest point total in junior college bowl history.
“We were top-there in the nation in total yards, passing yards, completions—for a quarterback that’s going to be pretty attractive,” Smiley said. “If a guy wants to throw the rock in Texas and play in an uptempo offense, we’re going to be the school.”
Trinity Valley sent 19 players to Division I in 2013 and 16 the previous year.
“We’ve led the country the last two years in D-I signees, and the first thing players who come to junior college want to know is who’s got the connections to get me out,” Smiley said.
Childress was a three-star prospect coming out of The Kincaid School in 2012, ultimately choosing West Virginia over offers from Arizona and Arizona State. After enrolling early he was charged with a DUI in April 2012 and wound up utilizing a redshirt season. Last fall, Childress initially was passed over for the starting job before replacing Paul Millard as the starter in Week 3.
He led WVU to a 41-7 win against Georgia State, but was ineffective in the following week’s 37-0 loss at Maryland. It was revealed after the loss that Childress played through a torn pectoral muscle in the game—an injury that sidelined him the rest of the season.
His passing totals were 36-of-63 for 421 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.
“He’s already burned his redshirt, so why sit out when he can come in here and develop as a player?” Smiley said. “He’ll be here for spring practice, play next season and then go sign with somebody.”