Morgantown, W.Va. – While WVU began the 2014 season with surprising success, it did not end the way it began. A 6-2 start turned into a final record of 7-6. The Mountaineers also finished without their starting quarterback Clint Trickett, who was plagued by injuries throughout his time at WVU.
Trickett began his college football career as a backup quarterback for Florida State. After receiving his degree in May of 2013, he left a championship team to fulfill his dream of being a QB at WVU. Trickett has family in WV and his father, Rick Trickett, coached there in the 1970s.
The Mountaineers were looking for a new starting quarterback in 2013 after Geno Smith’s departure to the NFL. During his first season at WVU, Trickett started out playing behind Paul Millard and Ford Childress.
Trickett played in eight games in 2013 and was the starter in seven. He completed 123 of 233 passes for 1,605 yds with 7 touchdowns and 7 interceptions while passing for over 250 yds in four games.
Trickett earned his first start against Oklahoma State, and completed 24 of 50 passes for 309 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. Trickett injured his right shoulder during the third quarter against the Cowboys, but he finished the season as the starter. He had surgery to repair his labrum, AC joint and rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder during January 2014.
During summer workouts, the recovered Clint Trickett became the clear choice to be named the starter for the 2014 season. The highlight of the season came from a convincing upset of #4 Baylor by a score of 41-27. Trickett completed 23 of 35 passes for 322 yards and 3 touchdowns with 1 interception.
Trickett was on pace to set WVU passing records through the first 8 games of the season. At one point he was even considered by some to be a Heisman trophy “dark horse.” During the early years of his college career he was simply viewed as a backup QB.
He spent two seasons as the backup for FSU quarterback EJ Manuel and then had to compete with Jameis Winston in spring practice. That prompted his move to WVU where he watched as a backup when WVU lost to Maryland, 37-0. Trickett fought hard to prove to Coach Dana Holgorsen that he deserved to start.
Each week of the college football season NCAA.com names a player with the most impressive individual performance. The week of September 16th, Trickett was chosen and the site said it best:
“…Trickett does seem like a quarterback who “rises” to the moment when needed by his team. He holds that ever-desirable clutch quality QBs have or don’t; he gives it his all, pulls out all the tricks, when it matters most.”
After being shutout 37-0 by the Terrapins in 2013, Trickett lead his team to a 40-37 victory in 2014. He completed 37 of 49 passes for 511 yds, with 4 touchdowns and one interception. His yardage total was second only behind Geno Smith for a single-game school record.
Despite putting up these numbers, he never lost sight of his teammates who helped him play so well. He began a tradition to thank his teammates by treating some key skill players and his entire offensive line to dinner. He would take them wherever they wanted to go with the bill on him.
There was certain criteria for the offensive line, they had to keep Trickett clean with no more than one sack in the game. In a previous article he said that the ones stepping up and making the big plays deserve all the credit.
Through the first three weeks of the season, Trickett ranked in the nation’s top 5 in pass completions, attempts, yards and completion percentage, throwing for 1,224 yards with seven touchdowns and one interception. Unfortunately, after five concussions in fourteen months, Clint Trickett’s football playing career came to an end at age 23.
With the concussions ending his career, Trickett looks forward to getting into the “family business” of coaching. When asked before the Liberty Bowl on his decision to retire from football, he seemed to have a positive outlook. He talked about how he would love to be on the field with “his guys”, and even though it was unfortunate how it ended he would not trade his senior year for the rest.
Stats and information from: Press conference in Memphis before Liberty Bowl, Sports Illustrated, WVUgame.com, Espn.com, ncaa.com, wvillustrated.com
Pictures from Kelsie VanderWijst Blue Gold Sports