Written by Travis Stone
With the 2014 college football season now over, it’s time for teams to focus on finalizing their recruiting class and start building for the 2015 season. The WVU football team had a very momentum building season that was full of celebration and heartache. From the dominating performance against Baylor to the devastating loss to TCU, the Mountaineers need to build on this season, not regress back to the seasons before.
WVU will be losing firepower on offense, but have pieces in place to not lose a beat. The defense will return all but one starter and will be adding depth that will need to be ready to step in and contribute. Even with the losses on both sides; there are a few key players ready to step in and continue the progress made this past season.
WR Dakiel Shorts/Shelton Gibson
Both WR’s saw their playing time increase during the 2014 season but were behind the dynamic duo of Kevin White/Mario Alford. Shorts was more involved in the offense than Gibson this season, however, Gibson flanked Alford on kickoffs. Neither player has been able to showcase their abilities due to the lack of playing time but both can expect that to change this season. White and Alford have moved on, leaving behind big shoes to fill. If any coach is capable of producing WR’s, it’s Dana Holgorsen.
Shorts 24 Receptions 346 Yards 2 Touchdowns
Gibson 4 Receptions 60 Yards
LB Jared Barber
Former high school standout LB Jared Barber’s talent has never been questioned, it’s just been derailed due to injuries. Barber missed the 2014 season due to a torn ACL, suffered against Texas in 2013. There was concern that Barber may not play football again, but he has made it clear he will return in 2015. The Mountaineers lose a key piece of defense with the graduation of Wes Tonkery, however we all have seen what Barber can do when healthy. That is what the Mountaineers are hoping to get from him in 2015.
RB Dontae Thomas-Williams
Former 4 star RB Dontae Thomas-Williams was redshirted in 2014 by the Mountaineers but that hasn’t stopped him from making a name for himself. Dontae has impressed the coaching staff with his mixture of size and speed on the practice field. Thomas-Williams has added strength to his arsenal and now looks to be the complete back the Mountaineers were hoping for when he chose WVU. With the loss of Dreamius Smith and the constant ineffectiveness to convert 3rd and shorts this season, Thomas-Williams has a chance to make a huge impact.
Article Photo Courtesy of USA Today