MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Riddled by five concussions in the past 14 months, including two he admitted hiding from team doctors, West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett won’t appear in the Liberty Bowl and says his playing career is finished.
Trickett talked with reporters Friday at Memphis University School field, just yards away from where his teammates practiced. “I would love to be out there and finish the season with my guys,” he said. “But it would be dangerous to be out there and I probably wouldn’t be as effective.”
The fifth-year senior, who now plans to begin his coaching career, left during the second half of a 26-20 loss to Kansas State on Nov. 30 and sat out the regular-season finale at Iowa State. That means sophomore Skyler Howard will make his second career start when West Virginia meets Texas A&M at the Liberty Bowl, though for the moment at least, questions remained about Trickett’s health and how he managed to keep at least two head injuries undetected.
“In fairness to our training staff, they didn’t know,” he said. “I didn’t tell them, so that was on me. If they would’ve known they probably would’ve been more precautions about it. But I was trying to push through it.”
Saying his family is “big on finishing what we start,” Trickett maintained hope of appearing in one last college game, at least until last week when doctors at UPMC in Pittsburgh declared him out. The quarterback visited the hospital several times this month for concussion-impact testing but said his results were “not close” to where they need to be.
Even five weeks since bumping his head while making a tackle on an interception against K-State, Trickett said he continues to endure typical post-concussion symptoms: “It’s pretty bad.”
With a father who coaches Florida State’s offensive line and a brother serving as the offensive coordinator at Samford, Trickett said he’s eager to get “into the family business.” Though not considered an NFL prospect, he previously mentioned taking his shot in the Canadian Football League.
“The more and more I think about,” he said, “what I’m getting into I probably need to have a couple brain cells left.”
Trickett’s 3,285 yards rank fourth on the West Virginia single-season passing list, behind No. 3 Marc Bulger (3,607 yards in 1998) and Geno Smith’s two mammoth years (4,205 in 2012 and 4,385 in 2011).
Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen called the premature ending to Trickett’s career unfortunate but projected that “he’s going to make a hell of a coach.”