West Virginia Football: Meet the Mountaineers' New Starters for 2013
When West Virginia takes the field for the first time on Aug. 31 against William & Mary, the team that exits the tunnel will be almost unrecognizable to some.
Gone are stars Tavon Austin, Geno Smith, Stedman Bailey and many others, as a completely different crop of athletes will lead the program through its next chapter.
The 2013 Mountaineers will lean on a number of junior college transfers on both sides of the ball.
But perhaps the biggest change will be seen in the backfield, where a pair of FBS graduate transfers are expected to lead head coach Dana Holgorsen's high-powered offense as WVU enters its second year in the Big 12.
Weight: 180 pounds
Replacing: Geno Smith
Clint Trickett transferred from Florida State this offseason after earning his degree at FSU. As a graduate transfer, he was eligible to play immediately at West Virginia.
Trickett played just two seasons for the Seminoles and redshirted one, giving him two years of eligibility in Morgantown.
Son of current FSU and former WVU offensive line coach Rick Trickett, he grew up in Morgantown but was recruited out of North Florida Christian in Tallahassee as a composite 3-star. According to 247Sports, he chose the Seminoles over Arkansas, Louisville, Pitt, South Florida and Stanford.
In two seasons at FSU, he logged 947 passing yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions.
If he takes the full-time starting job for the Mountaineers as expected, he is poised to be the next in a long line of prolific passers in Dana Holgorsen's Air Raid offense.
Although he only joined WVU in the spring, a 3,000-yard season would be a reasonable expectation, considering the production of his predecessor, Geno Smith, who threw for more than 4,000 yards in each of his two seasons under Holgorsen.
Weight: 213 pounds
Position: Running Back
Replacing: Andrew Buie
Another offseason transfer, Charles Sims joined the Mountaineers from Houston. Like Trickett, Sims earned his degree and is immediately eligible.
Sims played three seasons and redshirted one for the Cougars and has just one year of eligibility remaining.
A Houston native, he chose to stay home as a Rivals.com 3-star recruit, turning down offers from Boise State, Texas Tech and others.
At Houston, Sims was a three-time All-Conference USA selection and ran for 2,370 yards and 29 touchdowns, while also amassing 1,707 receiving yards and scoring eight touchdowns.
Sims, who is extremely versatile, will be utilized as a running back, receiver and possibly a returner at WVU.
Weight: 217 pounds
Position: Running back
Replacing: Shawne Alston
Though Sims will likely be the featured running back for WVU, Dreamius Smith could end up on the field just as often.
A powerful back, Smith will bring an outstanding blend of power and speed to the West Virginia backfield.
A junior college transfer, Smith made two NJCAA National Championship game appearances with Butler Community College, winning one national title in 2011.
The Wichita, Kan., native finished last season with 984 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns off just 120 carries, for an incredible average of 8.2 yards per carry.
Out of high school, Smith was a composite 3-star and signed with Kansas before choosing to instead head to junior college. In the end his plan worked, as his strong career at Butler C.C. helped him to garner offers from WVU, Oklahoma State, Boise State, Houston, Kansas State and others.
Don't be surprised to see numerous packages featuring Sims and Smith on the field together.
Weight: 201 pounds
Position: Inside receiver
Replacing: Tavon Austin
Daikiel Shorts is the only true freshman to appear on the first team in West Virginia's official depth chart, which was released Aug. 25.
After Shorts enrolled early in January, he showed that he was physically ready to take the field in Year 1 in Morgantown.
Out of Eastern Christian in Elkton, Md., Shorts chose WVU over Boise State, Boston College, Maryland and others as a composite 3-star.
As Shorts put in work all winter, spring and summer, he gained a leg up on the newcomers who only made it to Morgantown for fall camp.
Late in the stages of fall practice, head coach Dana Holgorsen said he was disappointed in the play of his inside receivers and announced that Shorts would be moved to the inside, as seen in his Aug. 15 press conference.
Weight: 197 pounds
Position: Outside receiver
Replacing: J.D. Woods
KJ Myers has put in his time and now, as a redshirt sophomore, is ready to take on a starting role.
Myers was recruited as a composite 3-star in the class of 2011 by receivers coach Lonnie Galloway during his first stint at WVU.
The Jacksonville, Fla., native redshirted in 2011 and played sparingly in 2012, but he did haul in a touchdown reception against Marshall.
He then spent the majority of the offseason running with the first-team offense, and ultimately fought off a number of newcomers.
Weight: 211 pounds
Position: Wide Receiver
Replacing: Stedman Bailey
Kevin White is yet another transfer, from Lackawanna Community College, set to start in his first year in gold and blue.
Keith Groller of The Morning Call detailed White's interesting story. A shoulder injury kept the Emmaus High School product out of action in 2010, and financial troubles kept him out of school in 2011.
Eventually, White returned to Lackawanna and caught 36 passes for 535 yards and six touchdowns, enough to earn scholarship offers from WVU and Texas Tech.
White was physically impressive from the moment he stepped on campus and made his name known during the spring game. White took a screen pass and looked to be bottled up near the line of scrimmage but split a group of defenders and cut upfield for a 46-yard touchdown.
From then on, it was clear that White would be running with the first team in Morgantown.
Weight: 175 pounds
Position: Inside receiver
Replacing: Tavon Austin
West Virginia fans can thank Tony Gibson for pulling Mario Alford with him from Arizona.
Originally committed to the Wildcats, Alford flipped his commitment to the Mountaineers and followed Gibson to WVU on signing day.
In August, WVU receiver Ivan McCartney told Allan Taylor of WV MetroNews that Alford is "a flash" and the fastest player on the team.
With his speed, Alford should fill in nicely for Austin in a similar all-purpose role.
Weight: 312 pounds
Position: Left Guard
Replacing: Josh Jenkins
A redshirt sophomore, Marquis Lucas saw little action last season behind the experienced line in Morgantown.
Now he will join Quinton Spain to make a 647-pound left side of the offensive line.
The Miami native received offers from Minnesota, Rutgers, South Florida, Illinois and Central Florida, according to 247Sports.
This fall, Lucas told Geoff Coyle of WVIllustrated that he has benefited greatly from the tutelage of new offensive line coach Ron Crook. Apparently, Crook has seen the same, as he remarked that he is expecting big things from Lucas in 2013:
You can tell with his approach, mentally and physically, and with the gains he's made over the summer. He's had a great work ethic all year. He's definitely a guy we're expecting big things out of this year.
Weight: 296 pounds
Replacing: Joe Madsen
A product of St. Edward High School in Cleveland, redshirt freshman Tyler Orlosky won the vacant center job over the spring and fall.
Early on, it appeared as though senior Pat Eger would be moved to center to take over the opening left by Joe Madsen. However, an injury slowed his progress and opened the door for Orlosky and others.
Eventually, Orlosky rose to the top, beating out fellow freshman Tony Matteo and junior college transfer Stone Underwood.
Given the continuity of the center position, Orlosky could end up as a four-year starter in the middle of the WVU offensive line. His predecessor, Madsen, also won the job as a redshirt freshman and remained the starter for the next four years.
Weight: 305 pounds
Position: Right Guard
Replacing: Jeff Braun
Mark Glowinski is another junior college transfer from Lackawanna C.C., where he was a second-team NJCAA All-American.
This Scranton, Pa., native chose the Mountaineers over offers from Connecticut and Kansas State as a composite 3-star prospect in 2012.
West Virginia's line was well set last year, particularly with three seniors on the interior, allowing Glowinski to take his redshirt season.
As expected, Glowinski took that year off to improve his status and earn a starting position.
Weight: 265 pounds
Position: Defensive End
Replacing: Jorge Wright
Sophomore Eric Kinsey showed promise, playing in all 13 games last season and now appears to have taken a coveted starting spot along the defensive line.
If Kinsey wins the job as expected, he will have successfully fought off three talented challengers in junior college transfer Dontrill Hyman, redshirt sophomore Kyle Rose and redshirt freshman Noble Nwachukwu.
A product of high school football powerhouse Miami Northwestern, Kinsey chose WVU over a long list of offers that included Louisville, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Nebraska, Ole Miss, South Florida and Vanderbilt, according to 247Sports.
The former composite 3-star will join two seniors, Will Clarke and Shaq Rowell, along the defensive front.
Weight: 220 pounds
Position: "Buck" outside linebacker
Replacing: Josh Francis
Like Alford, Brandon Golson was an Arizona commit but followed safeties coach Tony Gibson to West Virginia on signing day.
Golson was on the radar of a number of top programs before eventually landing in Morgantown. According to his 247Sports biography, he was originally committed to South Carolina in 2010 and enrolled at Louisville after spending a year in prep school at Fork Union, only to be ruled ineligible.
He then landed at Georgia Military College, where he was a teammate of Alford. Round 3 of his recruitment brought an offer from Texas A&M and commitments to South Carolina and Arizona.
Finally, Golson found a home in Morgantown, where he was quick to show why he garnered so much attention from high-profile programs.
Immediately, Golson earned a starting spot in the already deep and experienced WVU linebacking corps.
This fall he showed a skill set that appears to perfectly match the "buck" role, which demands pass-rushing ability but requires strength against the run as well.
Weight: 188 pounds
Replacing: Brodrick Jenkins
Redshirt junior Travis Bell was set to spend his junior season filling in as a third option at safety until a shoulder injury suffered against Maryland forced him to redshirt.
After his recovery, the Belle Glade, Fla., native switched to cornerback during the spring and recorded an interception and one of the biggest hits of the spring game.
Bell brings some welcomed size to the position and will also need to provide stability to the WVU cornerback carousel that simply didn't work in 2012.
He will start alongside Ishmael Banks, who earned a starting position at the end of last season and continued his strong play over spring and fall camps.