West Virginia Football: What You Need to Know About WVU's RB Dustin Garrison
Dustin Garrison ran for 2,842 yards and 46 touchdowns during his senior year of high school, and was named the 2010 Houston Chronicle Offensive Player of the Year.
So why weren't big-time college football recruiters knocking down his front door?
They didn't think he was big enough.
If only they had known.
With West Virginia set to join the Big 12 this season, Garrison will play near his Houston hometown and have the opportunity to run all over the Big 12 teams who passed him up.
Let's rundown what should be known about Garrison heading into 2012 in order to not overlook this lead Mountaineer back.
1. No Setbacks in ACL Recovery
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Heading into West Virginia's Orange Bowl game against the Clemson Tigers last season, Garrison suffered a sprained ACL and MCL during the team's first practice in Miami.
He had developed into the Mountaineers' top rusher (742 yards, six touchdowns), so WVU fans should collectively be holding their breath with regards to his recovery.
With Garrison suffering no setbacks so far, there is increased optimism that with a proper strengthening program, he should be back on the field come fall.
2. Runs Behind a Great Offensive Line
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Once Garrison does make it back onto the field, it's important to note that he'll be running behind a fantastic Mountaineer offensive line.
A patient runner, Garrison has to love having an experienced line to provide him holes that enable him to use his vision.
The WVU offensive line returns three starters from last season, plus Josh Jenkins, who was a starter, before he missed all of last season with a neck injury.
So that's just about four.
Plus, the newest (and biggest) addition to the line, sophomore Quinton Spain, may be the most talented of the bunch.
3. Has Competition
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With Garrison returning from his aforementioned ACL/MCL sprain, the Mountaineers would be foolish not to have a selection of backs ready to take the lead role if Garrison is unable.
So we find ourselves a competition.
Factoring into the backfield picture will be senior Shawne Alston (12 touchdowns last season) and Garrison's fellow backfield recruit Andrew Buie.
As reported by Josh Sickles of TribLIVE.com, Garrison expects to earn his spot:
Honestly, I see myself in the back of the pack,” Garrison said. “I don’t want (head coach Dana) Holgorsen or (running backs coach Robert) Gillespie to put me up top. I want to start in back and work my way up top.
4. Looking to Complete WVU Offense
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The Mountaineers already have a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback in Geno Smith.
That leaves one missing piece.
For the Mountaineers to live up to their No. 12 preseason ranking, they need a successful running game to complete their attack.
It's your time, Dustin Garrison.