In December, John “Doc” Holliday was lured away from WVU to become the head football coach at Marshall University. One of WVU’s favorite sons has fled Morgantown for the team in Huntington. To add further insult, Doc is now raiding WVU’s verbal commitments to stock his team.
Mountaineer Nation is up in arms over the loss of two verbal commits, Travis Bell and Fred Pickett. Both have followed Holliday to Marshall. In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, “What’s up, Doc?”
Doc left WVU the way a coach should leave a team and its players. Bill Stewart and his staff were aware that Holliday was interviewing for the Marshall job. As were the WVU players. Neither group learned of Doc’s departure through the media. Doc told his fellow coaches and players well before he was announced as Marshall‘s head coach. The way Doc approached his departure is the definition of integrity.
Doc was offered his first head coaching position less than 25 minutes from where he was born. A position he has worked over 30 years to attain. There is no part of that equation deserving the fury of Mountaineer fans.
Considering that WVU had three safeties verbally committed—Latwan Anderson, Mike Dorsey, and Travis Bell. Bell was the lowest rated player of the three, as rated by Scout.com. The signing of Latwan Anderson last week, created a surplus at the safety position in this year’s recruiting class.
WVU currently has depth in the defensive backfield on the roster. There were 20 defensive backs listed on this year’s roster that were underclassman. In WVU’s 3-3-5 stack defense there are five starting defensive backs. Bell’s three-star rating does not make him better than the players that are already on the roster.
Fred Pickett was listed as a three-star wide receiver commit. There are three remaining commits at wide receiver Deon Long, Darius Millines, and Quantavious Leslie. Scout.com rates Long a four star, and Millines and Leslie three-star commits. Pickett was the shortest receiver prospect at 5-foot-9.
Pickett was projected as a slot receiver at WVU. Currently the WVU roster is well stocked at the slot receiver position. Jock Sanders recently decided to return as WVU’s starting slot receiver next year. His backup, and heir apparent, is Tavon Austin. Pickett was not going to replace Sanders or Austin next year.
WVU currently has depth at the wide receiver position as well. There were seven wide receivers listed on this year’s roster that were underclassman. If you add Sanders and Austin listed as running backs, you have nine.
As a side note, on the roster is Reginald Rembert, a walk-on wide receiver from Morgantown. Some may find the name Rembert familiar. Reggie Rembert, Reginald’s father, was one of Major Harris’ favorite targets on the 1988 Fiesta Bowl team. For the record, Reginald wears number 88, his father’s number.
Another familiar name listed as a wide receiver on this year’s roster, Ryan Nehlen. Ryan is the son of Don Nehlen, WVU’s Hall of Fame football coach.
Neither Bell, or Pickett were paramount to the success of the WVU football team next year. WVU’s coaching staff now has two more scholarships to offer other players. Players that could solidify other positions of need.
In Huntington, both players have the opportunity to see extensive playing time next year. WVU couldn’t offer that to either player. My perspective is that translates to a positive for Mountaineer fans.
Bill Stewart has created depth on the Mountaineer football team. Depth that will not be destroyed by the loss of two, three-star recruits. Obviously, both players would have added to WVU’s depth, but so will the players Stewart replaces them with.
WVU’s current verbal commit list stands at 19. February 3 is the beginning of the signing period. Stewart has stated that he wants 25 commits in this class. Bill Stewart and his staff have a plan in place to counter the loss of these verbal commits. Whether it be to Marshall or any other FBS school.
The rivalry between WVU and Marshall is heating up. Doc Holliday is fueling the rise in temperature. Mountaineer fans wish to vilify Doc for this perceived attack on WVU.
John “Doc” Holliday is doing nothing but his job as the head football coach of Marshall University. As a life long Mountaineer fan having watched Doc as a player and a coach, I expect nothing less.