MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With summer workouts in full-sweat and the start of West Virginia preseason camp less than 40 days away, MetroNews concludes our countdown of the Top 10 Most Pivotal Players for 2014. Today the series wraps up with a surgically repaired quarterback trying to win big in his final college season:
No. 1 CLINT TRICKETT
Measurables: 6-2, 175
Though Trickett didn’t throw a pass during spring drills, his presence was thunderous. Junior college newcomer Skyler Howard looked discombobulated and rising senior Paul Millard looked best suited for the No. 2 role. That essentially meant the starting job and WVU’s hopes for a bounce-back season remains in the hands of Trickett, who is recovering from labrum surgery. Dana Holgorsen made it official in late June, with an oddly timed announcement that Trickett was his starter.
Trickett’s 2013 stats were uninspiring—a 57 percent completion rate, seven touchdowns countered by seven interceptions—but his attempt to play through shoulder pain and a concussion scare revealed plenty of leadership potential. He has the mobility to extend plays, though blitzers often reached him unimpeded last season. There’s no certainty his line will be improved this fall as it breaks in two new tackles.
Not only would keeping Trickett healthy afford WVU the pass-game continuity that was missing last year, it also would carry down-the-line benefits of allowing top recruit William Crest to learn at a more digestible pace.