West Virginia Freshman Quarterback Brian Athey Leaves Program
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On Monday, one of West Virginia's newer arrivals decided it wasn't the place for him.
Word came late in the day that freshman quarterback Brian Athey had decided he would take his skills elsewhere and transfer to Illinois State.
The 6'4" freshman committed to WVU last October along with a wave of new recruits to the university.
From Eden Prairie, Minn., he brought with him a pro-style type of play that former WVU head coach Bill Stewart had recruited him for.
Now that Bill Stewart is gone and a new head coach, former Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, is at the reins, he brings a different kind of offensive scheme.
Athey would have likely found himself No. 3 or 4 on the depth chart behind starter Geno Smith and possibly freshman Paul Millard, who has been impressing since signing with the Mountaineers.
Brian was originally slated to back-up Smith after two of last year's recruits, Barry Brunetti and Jeremy Johnson, left the program.
Though seemingly thin at the position, new West Virginia head coach Holgorsen plans on hosting an open tryout for the team in order to add some depth to quarterback. In recent days they have also added a former Kentucky walk-on quarterback named Michael Burchett as well as given former walk-on quarterback Ian Loy a second chance at the position.
In case of an emergency, such as a couple serious injuries to the offensive play-caller position, the Mountaineers do still have Coley White, brother of former Mountaineer legend Pat White.
Coley White was originally recruited to play quarterback, but he was moved to wide receiver and he has been lingering on the bench the past couple seasons.
Despite never playing a down for the Mountaineers, Athey will bring a great arm to the Illinois State Redbirds if he ends up playing there.
Athey will have to compete for a position with the Redbirds, though he will probably have a better chance of starting in the future there than at WVU.
Of course, it's not terrible news, as Mountaineers fans are excited for the upcoming season with a new coaching staff and a new look offense.
Though they may have wanted him to stay, Athey will have many more games to look forward to, as will the fans of West Virginia football.
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