How Ford Childress' Suspension Shakes Up West Virginia's QB Depth

Ben Kercheval@@BenKerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterJanuary 13, 2014

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 21:  Quarterback Ford Childress #7 of the West Virginia Mountaineers looks to pass against the Maryland Terrapins during their 37-0 loss at M&T Bank Stadium on September 21, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Quarterback depth was a major issue for West Virginia in 2013. Not even one month into 2014, the Mountaineers have already reportedly lost a quarterback.

According to Mike Casazza of the Charleston Daily Mail, redshirt freshman Ford Childress will not enroll for the spring semester after being suspended by head coach Dana Holgorsen. 

Childress was suspended for the entire semester earlier this month by head coach Dana Holgorsen. Childress, who was 1-1 as a starter this season before an injury ended his season, was not at a team meeting Wednesday, the first day of the spring semester. Childress informed WVU he would not enroll this semester.

The reason for the suspension is unclear and West Virginia has not confirmed the report. However, Childress is no longer listed on the online roster

Childress' reported departure hurts West Virginia the most in spring practices, when depth will be at a premium.

Since redshirt senior Clint Trickett will be rehabbing a torn labrum he sustained during the season, Paul Millard and early enrollee Skyler Howard will be the only scholarship quarterbacks healthy enough to compete. Incoming freshman William Crest, should he sign with the Mountaineers on national signing day next month, will enroll in the summer. 

Clint Trickett
Clint TrickettJamie Squire/Getty Images

West Virginia's quarterback situation looks shaky at best after an underwhelming and injury-filled 2013 in which the Mountaineers went 4-8.

Childress started two games, going 1-1 vs. William & Mary and Maryland before a torn pectoral muscle sidelined him for the rest of the year. 

Millard started three games and threw for 1,119 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions. Trickett, the team's best option at quarterback because of his mobility and experience at Florida State, threw for 1,605 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. 

Childress is the more physically gifted of the three rotating quarterbacks. At 6'5" and 234 pounds, he possesses ideal size and arm strength.

Barring a comeback, however, Childress' time in Morgantown will leave fans wondering what could have been.

According to, he was a 4-star prospect who held scholarship offers from Arizona, Arizona State and Florida State coming out of The Kinkaid School in Houston, Texas. Childress showed promise in the 41-7 win over Georgia State, throwing for 359 yards and three touchdowns.

However, in a 37-0 blowout to Maryland the following week, Childress completed just 50 percent of his passes for 62 yards and a pair of interceptions. Head coach Dana Holgorsen confirmed after the game that Childress had been playing with the torn pectoral muscle

With Trickett out and Crest unavailable for spring practices, Millard and Howard will have an opportunity to get valuable extra reps in the quarterback competition. That's something that could have benefited Childress greatly. 

Howard is a relatively unknown prospect from Riverside, Calif. 247Sports indicates that his only other Division I offers came from New Mexico State and San Diego State, and he doesn't have great size at 5'11" and 200 pounds.

However, he was a productive dual-threat quarterback in his JUCO career with 3,151 passing yards and 33 touchdowns in 2013. 

Paul Millard
Paul MillardEvan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Millard has essentially been a career backup, mostly to Geno Smith over the past two seasons. 

Unless Howard or Millard has the best spring practice in the history of football, expect the competition to continue into preseason camp. There will simply be too many players missing for Holgorsen to accurately name a starter. 

If Childress hypothetically came back in time for fall practices, he'd be in the mix as well. If his two years in the program were any indication, though, he would have his work cut out for him trying to catch up. 

If 2013 was any indication, however, the player named the Week 1 starter may not have a tight grip on the job. 


Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval.