6:00pm: Sportsline with Tony Caridi

Notebook: Rasheed Marshall joins WVU staff, Week 2 of drills begins Tuesday

(Neal Brown press conference – March 27)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU head coach Neal Brown opened the second week of official spring practices by welcoming back one of the program’s best quarterbacks to a full-time staff position. 2004 Big East Offensive Player of the Year Rasheed Marshall has been hired as the Director of Player Relations.

WVU quarterback Rasheed Marshall.
Photo by Preston Mack-USA TODAY Sports

Marshall replaces Osman Kamara in that role, which serves as a liaison between players and university support staff.

“He has not only been a great player here, he has done really well professionally,” Brown said. “He’s from Pittsburgh and he has a great story. He wanted to be a part of the program and he loves West Virginia. He is really passionate about developing young people.”

Marshall was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the fifth round of the 2005 NFL Draft.



Defense flips the script on Saturday

Mar 25, 2023; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; The West Virginia football team participates in spring training. (Photo by Ben Queen/www.BenQueenPhotography.com)

Four practices are scheduled for the Mountaineers this week after they held three workouts last week. According to Brown, the offense had an advantage in early-week practices but the defense had the upper hand in Saturday’s workout inside Milan Puskar Stadium.

“I thought the offense had a nice day on Tuesday and Thursday. And then on Saturday, I wasn’t very pleased with them. We just didn’t have the same urgency. We’ve got to be able to handle some success. I thought Tuesday and Thursday were clean from alignment and assignment. But also, we practiced with urgency and really good effort. I thought Saturday didn’t meet the standard. It wasn’t good enough,” Brown said.

“Defensively, I thought Saturday was our best day. I thought they were more confident. And it works out that way because you have pads on. You add the physicality aspect that you don’t have on Tuesday and Thursday.”

Carter fulfilling expectations for young group of receivers

WVU WR Devin Carter (Photo by Ben Queen/www.BenQueenPhotography.com)

After losing their four most productive receivers from the 2022 season, Brown is counting on younger wideouts to stake their claim for snaps this fall. North Carolina State graduate transfer Devin Carter is drawing early praise from Brown not only for his on-field output but for leading the group as well.

“We brought Devin in because we thought he could be a front line guy and be a one. Through three practices, that has only been the truth. He has delivered. He has made some big time plays.”

Rodney Gallagher and Traylon Ray are high-profile freshmen who will join the team early in the summer. In the meantime, Brown is hoping that returners Cortez Braham and Jeremiah Aaron can assert themselves.

“There’s pressure in Cortez and Jeremiah. I think both of those guys this spring have to make a move. We talk about pressure being a privilege because we need them. There have been some flashes. They have to be more consistent.”

Donaldson getting back up to speed

WVU RB CJ Donaldson – (Photo by Ben Queen/www.BenQueenPhotography.com)

After rushing for 125 yards and a touchdown in his collegiate debut, CJ Donaldson was limited to seven games last fall due to injury. Donaldson is getting extensive reps in spring drills as he continues to recover from the season-ending lower leg injury suffered in the TCU game.

“He needs it. He doesn’t have a whole lot of experience. He had some flashes last year. We’ve got to get him where he’s got to able to play where he’s got to be durable. He needs reps at running back just because he doesn’t have a whole lot. How much live tackling is to be determined. But he has practiced and practiced the whole time those three days.”

Yates now center of attention on offensive line

WVU OL Brandon Yates at the Gold-Blue Game (Photo by Ben Queen/www.BenQueenPhotography.com)

Redshirt junior Brandon Yates played in all twelve games at right tackle last season, sharing snaps with Ja’Quay Hubbard. This spring, Yates has shifted to center. That’s a spot occupied by All-American and three-year starter Zach Frazier. Frazier is limited in spring practice, giving Yates an opportunity to step inside.

“He is growing. He has done well. He has some natural ability there. His snaps are a little off some and you have seen that just because he hasn’t done it. But he is a more natural inside player. He has a great attitude about it too.”



NFL scouts assemble for Pro Day

Mar 4, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; West Virginia wide receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton (WO17) participates in drills at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

According to Brown, 28 of 32 NFL teams were scheduled to be represented at WVU’s annual Pro Day workouts inside the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility. Bryce Ford-Wheaton turned in an impressive performance at the NFL Combine last month. He ran a 4.38 40-yard dash, one of the top times for receivers.

“His measurables are off the charts. His numbers at the combine, I think they speak for themselves. You have seen some things that have come out historically for what receivers’ numbers are that are guys his size and who he compares to, he is in rare air with that.”

Brown believes that wideout Sam James is worthy of more attention than he is currently receiving in the pre-draft process.

“Sam James is a guy that I think is maybe slept on a little bit. He is going to test out really well today. His biggest issue has been his weight. I think the guys are going to be pleased with how he weighs in today.

“He has been productive on film. And he has an elite trait, and it shows on tape, that he can cover punts. He has done that as well as anyone in the country over the last three years. That’s something the professional guys really pay attention to.”

Dante Stills joined Ford-Wheaton at the NFL Combine. Brown believes Stills can bring added value to an NFL team because of his ability to slot in at multiple spots on the defensive line.

“Dante’s got versatility. You could make an argument that he could fit into a four-down front or a three-down front. That’s where sometimes some of the D-linemen can get pigeonholed because they can only do what is expected out of a three-down or a four-down. He has the versatility to be both.”

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