MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia got the wide receiver help it was desperately seeking this offseason with the arrival of transfers Sean Ryan and George Campbell.
“Before those guys came, we had, what, two or three people over 6-2?” noted fellow receiver T.J. Simmons.
Indeed, there were three receivers that size – Simmons, sophomore Ricky Johns and redshirt freshman Bryce Wheaton. With the 6-3 Ryan and 6-4 Campbell on board, the Mountaineers have nearly doubled their number of tall targets.
“Now we have some bigger bodies,” Simmons said. “A lot of jump balls, a lot of taking shots. It correlates well with what we have.”
Even before they’ve played, wide receivers coach Xavier Dye says they’ve made an impact.
“We’re just a young group. We needed guys to come in and challenge them,” Dye said. “It’s helped them. Guys are doing much better because you’ve got someone behind them to push them.”
Campbell is looking to make an impact after four years of frustration at Florida State. After contributing in 11 games as a true freshman, injuries limited to him a total of 11 games over the next three years.
Campbell’s sophomore stats showed why he came out of high school as a five-star recruit. Though he had only six receptions, he averaged 20.3 yards per catch.
“You can tell he’s got the speed,” Simmons said. “He’s long. He makes hard catches. He’s an athlete, for real. A lot of times you don’t think of a bigger guy being that fast.”
Even before the Mountaineers started wearing full pads for fall practice, Campbell’s physique hulked above the rest of the receiving corps. According to those who have practiced with him, he is more than just a body, though.
“George is a big-body guy. He can go up and get the football,” Dye said. “He can block if you need him to block. He brings a lot to that position. That’s what you look for in an outside receiver. He’s got a lot of tools. We’ve just got to keep polishing them up.”
Simmons also says Campbell is the rare player able to match the energy he brings to the locker room.
“Me and George go back and forth all the time,” Simmons said. “We match our energy together. Even when we’re just chilling, it just flows. We’re the same guy, for real. I might have a little more juice than George, but it flows good.”
The Mountaineers are confident, albeit unsure, that Ryan will also contribute on the field this season. WVU applied for a waiver for immediate eligibility on Ryan’s behalf over the summer after he transferred from Temple in April.
Simmons has been impressed by how much Ryan has bulked up in just a few months working with West Virginia strength and conditioning coach Mike Joseph.
“Coach Mike has got him right since he’s been here,” Simmons said of Ryan. “He can really use his size against those corners and body them up a little bit.”