MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — While West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen spotted abundant reasons for optimism Thursday, the first day of preseason camp also revealed a nugget of severe injury news.

Redshirt freshman Jacky Marcellus, projected to be a versatile component at slot receiver, will miss the season after undergoing knee surgery.

“He’s out until January,” Holgorsen said.

The 5-foot-8, 175-pound Marcellus was featured on Jet sweeps, reverses and quick screens during the spring, as coaches sought to utilize his quick-twitch elusiveness. While the injury discards an offensive weapon, Holgorsen said West Virginia’s inside receiver depth remains better than at any point during his previous three seasons. That’s saying something considering Tavon Austin was here for two of those seasons.

“Jordan Thompson looks good and Daikiel Shorts looks good,” the coach said before referencing the potential for using fullback Cody Clay and veteran running backs Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison in the slot.

Perhaps the best option is sophomore Wendell Smallwood, who on Tuesday was cleared of witness intimidation charges in Delaware, reversing a potentially messy scenario in which he was extradited in connection to a murder case. Smallwood was back in the fold at practice Thursday and back in the good graces of his coach, who implied he remained at No. 2 on the depth chart behind Dreamius Smith.

“Smallwood is where he was at the end of (spring),” said Holgorsen. “He had a great summer. Obviously, he was not with us for about a 10-day period, but he is an intrical part of what we’re going to be doing offensively.”

Newly enrolled freshman Lamar Parker also Holgorsen’s attention in the slot: “He made some plays today that surprised me.”

Nickel back K.J. Dillon (sprained ankle) is expected to be sidelined a week, and Buck linebacker Brandon Golson (shoulder surgery) should be cleared for contact within a few days. Senior inside linebacker Jared Barber, who gingerly jogged around the field in a red jersey Thursday, may be out until September as he recovers from ACL surgery.

Freshman offensive line signee Amanii Brown and junior tight end Russell Haughton-James are expected back by the first day of classes Aug. 18.

While West Virginia sorts out eligibility issues blocking the arrivals of offensive lineman Dontae Angus, receiver Jacob McCrary and junior college defensive back Jaylon Myers, another three-star recruit has come and gone.

Offensive lineman Walter Rauterkus “decided not to play football,” according to Holgorsen, and returned to Avon, Ohio. “He was here during the summer decided this was not for him, so he went home.”

Junior college offensive tackle Justin Scott also has yet to report.

Senior cornerback Travis Bell, a nine-game starter in 2013 who had been suspended from the team during the spring, was back at practice Thursday.

Bell was charged with DUI a day after last season’s final game, which followed an arrest in February 2013 for misdemeanor domestic battery.

Darien Bryant, a former Rivals three-star tight end recruit who spent the past three seasons at Vanderbilt, participated in practice just days after arriving in Morgantown.

A redshirt junior with two years remaining, the 6-4 Bryant is immediately eligible as a walk-on after graduating fom Vandy. He reportedly hopes for a chance to contribute on offense after working sparingly as a defensive end reserve with the Commodores.

“I don’t know—he’s been here a day,” Holgorsen said. “I just met him last night. We’ll talk about guys that have made plays.”

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  • Mark Daniels

    Smallwood is intrical? Do you mean integral?

  • Jamesd

    Did you honestly try to promote worthless nut ( Buckeye ) envy on a Mountaineer news story???? Shame on you F.I.F.O.

  • Adaub

    It's called reporting. I bet you lead an unhappy life

  • candy z

    Dont worry Rushel will get plenty of play. he is in great shape

  • david r. bee

    I'd have to say things are looking good. Everyone makes mistakes but those that overcome them are truly special people. As for depth; everyone needs to be ready to go at any given time. Think about that and take it as a serious comment. We all want to see the "EERS" win. When you walk into a stadium with a packed house feel the excitement and give everything you've got to leave with a "W".

  • Shawn 108

    So we recruited a QB to field punts? What a great idea. I was hoping for him to back up trickett and get some experience. I think Trickett will surprise some people this year. But I worry that Howard (who was afraid that he wasn't going to start at a D II school) is going to be our next QB. I saw Crest play in HS the kid won't stay here to sit on the bench because someone will let him play. Of course IMO

  • stephenw304

    Crest is fielding punts. Holgerson has taken a slow program building method not rushing. I doubt we see crest at QB this year unless it's unavoidable. It's Trickett till he gets hurt or WV is below 500 after game 6 then Howard takes over to see what they have in him. If Howard proves himself he's the starter going into 2015 with Crest as backup and Sills redshirt. 2016 Crest would have 3 yrs eligible. It becomes a quarterback development machine. 2 years understudy 3 years performance. It was Holgerson approach with Childress just Childress wasn't mature enough.

  • Tim C

    Welcome back Wendell. Just remember, you have a great opportunity to create a better life for yourself and your family. You just need to keep yourself focused. It's time to cut those friends who have chosen another path in life to the curb. If you don't you may find yourself in a situation you can't get out of. Best of luck.

  • Neal

    Keep in mind who the audience is for these articles. Not everyone who is a WVU fan follows them so closely that they are up on every single detail of what is happening with the team every week. So they have to write the article with that in mind. Besides, as a state resident, alum, and WVU fan I would much rather the media err on the side over exposure for issues such as this so that we aren't perceived as a program that tries to sweep these things under the rug.

  • Jim

    Why bring Marshall into it. The statement was about a WVU player. Leave them along and let's focus on getting behind the team and not worry about MU.

  • doug

    looks good

  • cutty77

    This is why i pay no attention to recruiting. I pay attention to the guys that show up. People love to waste there time chasing 18 and 19 year old kids.

  • Dave

    BINGO !!!!!!!!!! Exactly.

  • Randall P

    Looks like someone's spellcheck is broken. We will never know if, or to what extent, Wendell was involved. So we should just find something else to talk about.

  • TruthTeller

    What I am wondering is why does MetroNews have to mention the legal matter every single time they type Wendell Smallwood? Charges have been dropped so why not drop the labeling? The same goes with Trickett, stop with the Twitter Trickett comments all ready. MetroNews needs to take lessons from the news people in Ohio. Look how they write about Ohio State football. They make them sound like the Gods of football. Look how many NCAA rules Ohio State has violated but the news papers don't tear the team down like MetroNews does WVU. Maybe just write about that Junior College program there in Huntington.

  • Tomgone12

    Just speculating here. Captain Obviuos...,,Delaware prosecuting attorney knew exactly what they were doing in his arrest to leverage testimony against his friend. As in understand it he never actually tampered only a dis usion with friend. Enough to get in the nnds of law Enforcement

  • Carl Childers

    What is the deal with Rushell Shell? Is not going to play? I can't believe a recruit with his talent can't be "showing" anything unless he has just laid down.

  • Aaron

    I don't trust the news sources. They took what Maryland officials said as gospel and ran with it, convicting Smallwood long before the process ever played out.

    His involvement was some phone conversations to a childhood friend accused of a crime and the district attorney said that while phone calls that included mention of contacting a witness. There was never any proof that contact was made or evidence of threats, that's the charges were dropped.

    I'm not saying Smallwood is completely innocent in this matter but far too many reporters convicted him before he ever left the state of West Virginia. At best it was shoddy writing that contained unprofessional comments. But hey it's all about the ratings game, right.

  • Dave

    No, I read the stories before I comment. I just wish that WVMetro News " The voice of West Virginia" would be a little more positive with their stories on the Mountaineers instead of throwing out jabs and insults every chance they get. I'm not the only one that notices and has these objectives,

  • FNP

    He doesn't like the media so therefore he plays games with you guys.

  • notorious

    His name was cleared, which is great. However, it doesn't change the fact that he was involved in a murder case and arrested. He was associating with a murderer and, from news reports, seemed to have damning info to induce a plea from his friend.

    Guys receive punishment for missing class. I'd say this does as well.

  • Aaron

    Not only is he back, each report from Taylor implies that punishment, perhaps forthcoming is by all means warranted.


  • WVU Fan

    I guess Dave doesn't read the articles he just immediately comes to the comment section.

  • WVUGrad

    LOL. My thoughts, exactly!

  • Shawn 108

    Allan, How did William Crest look throwing the ball?

  • paisoneer

    so, the coach spelled "intrical" in his pc? Don't usually see press conferences in type version.

  • Allan Taylor

    Riddick was working with the third-team D-line on Thursday, per Holgorsen, though a depth chart handed out to the media mistakenly showed him as the starter.

  • Allan Taylor

    I believe the coach was aiming for "integral" there ...

  • paisoneer

    What does intrical mean?

  • any major dude

    What's the status of Riddick?

  • Mountaineer88

    Well, Dave, while you're shaking your head, I'm happy to receive an update that Mr. Smallwood was at practice and, from the looks of things, in good standing. Considering he's also a guy who can play the same position as Jacky, I think the article made sense. Guess you missed the fact that all the writers were tweeting about Smallwood being there.

  • Dave

    In case you fans didn't catch the news the last 4 times Allan Taylor reported it, Wendell Smallwood is back. Geez, smh.