Since Neal Brown has been the head coach at West Virginia, his quarterback play has been sub-par. This season, Brown is turning to a group that has experience in some areas, but most of the room there are more questions than answers.
The quarterback position is the most important position on the football field, and Brown is going to have a new face under center this season. After the departure of Jarret Doege, Brown has brought in a new offensive coordinator in Graham Harrell, and has added two new faces to his quarterback room.
As fall camp began this week, Brown said he has seen a mix of good and bad from the four guys competing for the starting spot. Those four guys include JT Daniels, Garrett Greene, Will Crowder, and Nicco Marchiol.
Daniels, a former five-star quarterback recruit, has spent time at USC, before spending time at Georgia following a torn ACL ending his sophomore season year at USC. Daniels was 7-0 as a starter at Georgia, before he got hurt. Daniels would not get the starting job back, and Georgia would end up winning the national championship.
In his only full season in 2018 at USC, Daniels threw for 2,672 yards, to go along with 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Daniels completed 59.5% of his passes his freshman year — a number that has steadily increased throughout the rest of his career. In 2019, Daniels tore his ACL in his first game of the season, and would be out for the rest, then transferring to Georgia in 2020.
At Georgia, Daniels played in a total of nine games, passing for 1,953 yards, and 17 touchdowns, with only five interceptions. Daniels completion percentage would be at about 70% in his nine games, while he would throw the ball down the field, averaging 9.0 yards per attempt on his passes.
Daniels is the presumptive favorite to win out the job, but his injury history is something to keep an eye on. Daniels undoubtedly has the most experience of all the quarterbacks on WVU’s roster and he also has experience with Harrell as his coordinator and coach.
Greene is entereing his sophomore season, after redshirting in 2020. Last season, Greene appeared in 11 games for the Mountaineers and used his legs to be an effective option for the Mountaineers.
Greene rushed for 306 yards on 47 carries, while passing for 147 yards, while going 16-of-26 on passes. Greene was seen more as a run-first option by WVU last season. Greene has the most experience playing at WVU, but did not find as much success throwing the ball in games as he did when he ran the ball last season. Greene’s speed figures to be in West Virginia’s gameplan somewhere this season, but he is still fighting for his spot on the team.
Crowder is entering his second year at WVU. After redshirting last season, Crowder was on the field for only eight games in 2021. Crowder comes from Gardendale, Alabama, leading his high school team to a 9-3 record his senior season, while throwing for 2,132 yards and 20 touchdowns. Crowder has the ability to run and pass, and is seen as one of the more undeveloped talents on West Virginia’s roster.
Against Long Island last season, Crowder threw two passes, totaling 28 yards. One of those passes was a 20-yard pass, but that was the only action Crowder saw all year. Compared to Greene, Crowder is bigger at the position. Standing at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, Crowder will certainly look to play his way into the mix for Brown and his staff this fall.
Marchiol is one of the highest rated recruits WVU has landed in sometime. A four-star quarterback from Arizona, Marchiol is a left-handed quarterback, who had a lot of success at the high school level.
Marchiol was named the Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year, going 11-1 his senior season, taking his team to the Arizona Open Division state semifinals. In his high school career, Marchiol passed for 8,310 yards, and 91 touchdowns in 43 games played. Marchiol was also a threat running the ball, as he ran for 1,301 yards and 24 touchdowns in his high school career.
The talent is certainly there for Marchiol, but it is to be seen if his game will immediately translate to the college level. A true freshman, the growing pains are expected from Marchiol, it will be interesting to see how much of an opportunity he is given.
There are three other quarterbacks on WVU’s roster. Two redshirt-freshman in Jake Robbins and Jackson Crist, as well as senior Matt Cavallaro who transferred to WVU in 2020 from Lackawanna College.
Brown and Harrell have options to choose from, but only time will tell if one of those options is the ultimate answer.
Photo by Wesley Shoemaker