Plenty to prove: West Virginia Mountaineers


Every season, every player feels he's got at least something to prove. Otherwise, all the work wouldn't be worth it. That said, some guys have more to prove than others.

These are the guys with the most to prove on their respective Big 12 teams.

Next up: West Virginia

More guys with plenty to prove.

Plenty to prove: RB Dustin Garrison

Most fans across the Big 12 likely have no idea who Garrison is, and that's not necessarily his fault. He came out of nowhere to win West Virginia's starting running back job four games into his true freshman season, and in his first start carried the ball 32 times for 291 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Bowling Green.

Yeah, it was Bowling Green, but so much for a pass-happy offense. He finished the 2011 regular season, West Virginia's last in the Big East, with a team-high 742 rushing yards, including 87 yards and a score in a season-ending win over South Florida that clinched an Orange Bowl berth for the Mountaineers. He was also a fixture in the passing game.

However, in practices leading up to the bowl game, he suffered a knee injury. West Virginia rolled over Clemson and his absence hardly made a blip, but he rushed back from the injury after missing the first two games of 2012. He was never quite back to his old self. He never had double-digit carries in a game and topped 45 yards in a game just once.

Shawne Alston is gone, but Andrew Buie returns and talented juco newcomer Dreamius Smith further crowds the backfield. Garrison has to prove he can return to his previous form. If he doesn't, it's going to be tough to win carries and tough to help West Virginia gain the offensive balance it lacked last season. Buie logged a 200-yard game against Texas last season and has plenty of talent of his own, but Garrison's definitely got some claim to that No. 1 spot if he can prove he deserves it.