Is West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen desperate? Or is he just a real nice guy who wants to give kids a second chance?
Maybe it's both.
In 2012, West Virginia wide receiver Ivan McCartney left the team just prior to the Mountaineers' November 10 date with Oklahoma State, a game West Virginia lost 55-34.
On May 19, McCartney returned to the team, according to the Daily Mail.
"Second chances are few and far between," [head coach Dana] Holgorsen said. "This kid's got an opportunity to right the ship. Maybe he makes the best of it. Maybe he doesn't."
Holgorsen said McCartney was back home in Florida during the spring semester and that contacts from his high school reached out to discuss the idea of a return last month. Holgorsen said McCartney is eligible and will again be on scholarship—and that doesn't count toward the 2013 class of recruits.
McCartney started one game last season, replacing the injured Stedman Bailey against TCU. In his three seasons at the school, McCartney caught 59 passes for 701 yards and three touchdowns. Bailey, Tavon Austin and J.D. Woods were ahead of McCartney on the depth roster and were either selected in the 2013 NFL draft or exhausted their eligibility.
McCartney left the team "for personal reasons," according to WVIllustrated.com. Receiver Travares Copeland had left one week before McCartney's departure due to personal reasons as well, the report noted.
If McCartney's personal reasons involved a family emergency or resolving a personal matter, then most fans would be sympathetic to his plight. Leaving because of a lack of playing time—which is most likely why he left—is also understandable. But since McCartney only had one year of eligibility left, transferring to another FBS school was not an option.
While no coach wants to see a player leave due to lack of playing time, Holgorsen's decision to allow McCartney back on the team indicates desperation.
Athlon Sports notes that West Virginia has three starters returning on offense. The Mountaineers signed five receivers in this year's recruiting class and two of them, Daikiel Shorts and Kevin White, were impressive this spring, according to the Charleston Gazette.
McCartney's return may not have registered a blip on the radar if Austin, Bailey and Woods were returning. But they're not, and West Virginia is now in complete rebuild mode.
After the Mountaineers' spring game, Holgorsen was asked if he was ready to name a quarterback. Holgorsen's answer, according to Sports Illustrated, was sobering.
"Not only are we not ready to do that at quarterback, we're not ready to do that at about 20 other positions as well," he replied.
McCartney may not start this year. He'll be competing against some raw talent, including Jordan Thompson, K.J. Myers and incoming freshman Shelton Gibson.
McCartney's presence will push the other receivers, which is ideal situation for a coach. What remains to be seen is whether Holgorsen allowing McCartney to return helps or hinders the team.