Kevin White and Mario Alford were key pieces in West Virginia’s offense during the 2014 season, combining for 2392 receiving yards, 174 catches and 21 touchdown catches. With the loss of the dynamic duo, the Mountaineers will need some others to step up in 2015.
Replacing White and Alford will be similar to what head coach Dana Holgorsen endured in 2012 when he had to replace Tavon Austin and Steadman Bailey.
Jordan Thompson and Dakiel Shorts were dependable slot receivers last season behind White and Alford. Thompson improved significantly from the 2013 season last year. He had 49 catches, totaling 598 yards during his junior campaign.
The Mountaineers will need big things from the receiver known as “Squirt”. The question remains can the 5-foot-7 wideout be consistent the entire season. Thompson can make astonishing catches at one moment and minutes later drop a simple pass. He has the speed, quickness, hands and football IQ to excel, but he has never been able to do it on a consistent basis.
Shorts, like Thompson, is a versatile threat to the Mountaineers’ receiving corps, but he needs to be more consistent in 2015.
The Elkton, Maryland native was the team’s leading receiver as a freshman but only had 24 catches totaling 346 yards in his sophomore season. With two seasons of experience under his belt, he could be an offensive threat if he can make key catches.
Shelton Gibson and Vernon Davis Jr. are the most likely candidates on the outside to step up and fill the void left by White and Alford. Gibson had four catches, including a 47-yarder in the Liberty Bowl. Holgorsen also plans on using him as the primary kickoff returner.
Gibson was highly touted 4-star recruit out of high school. The Cleveland, Ohio native will provide speed lost with the graduation of Alford.
Redshirt junior K.J. Meyers was the forgotten man last season. He had 4 receptions totaling 15 yards.
Other options could be redshirted players like Devonte Mathis, Ricky Rogers, Jacky Marcellus and Lamar Parker. West Virginia also has at least four receivers committed in this year’s recruiting class.