MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Biletnikoff Award finalist David Sills plans to remain at West Virginia for his senior season, a prescient decision announced Monday.
As I wrote last week and stated during a guest appearance on “Statewide Sportsline,” the return of quarterback Will Grier had a downstream effect on Sills doing the same. Turns out that the most effective players at catching the ball are the ones who have someone effectively throwing it to them. And so it goes that the Grier-Sills tandem will make hay in 2018 for more TDs after connecting for 18 of them this year.
This is on par with Mayfield-to-Westbrook, Rudolph-to-Washington. Statistically, it’s actually superior to them because neither of those duos got in the end zone 18 times in a single season. What those tandems did, however, was win the Big 12 or contend until the final weekend.
Sills, in a statement released Monday, pointed toward the Big 12 championship as next season’s carrot:
“After talking with my family and my coaches and taking time in prayer, I have decided to return for my senior season at West Virginia University. I look forward to our bowl game, and having another year with my teammates here in Morgantown. It is important to me to finish what I started in the classroom and help our program win a Big 12 championship. WVU holds a special place in my heart, and I am looking forward to seeing what this team can accomplish next year.”
As a junior Sills was named second-team All-American by the AP, the Sporting News, Walter Camp and the AFCA. Big accolades for a position-switching player who entered the preseason merely hoping to earn a starting job.
“David proved this year that he can be one of the best receivers in college football,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. “Another season will help him improve in all areas, and I know our fans will be excited to see him team up with Will Grier for another year.”
The 6-foot-4 Sills could have been a middle-rounds pick had he entered the NFL draft, despite the fact he only has one full season at receiver. Given the leaps he made in route-running this fall, he could emerge as a big-time prospect a year from now. This also affords him another offseason to work on strength and physicality, because unlike a lot of seniors, his body hasn’t peaked. For two of three years in college, he was preparing to play quarterback, which requires a different approach to conditioning.
With Sills coming back, WVU projects to return quite a compliment of pass-catchers: 212 receptions, 2,836 yards and 25 touchdowns worth. Totals that will only increase with the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Dec. 26.
While a win over Utah would be nice for Mountaineers fans, you sense they’ve already received the best gifts these holidays could offer.