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Big 12 spring battle spotlight: West Virginia WRs

3/5/2015

Kevin White is on the cusp of becoming a millionaire and Mario Alford should find himself in an NFL camp in August. The departure of that duo leaves a major void at receiver for West Virginia heading into the spring.

Departed: White could end up being an Top 10 pick in the NFL Draft after recording 109 receptions for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Mountaineers in 2014. Mario Alford was overshadowed but explosive in his own right with 65 receptions for 945 yards and 11 touchdowns. The No. 1 receiver spot is wide open heading into the spring in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Spring contenders: Senior KJ Myers, senior Jordan Thompson, junior Vernon Davis, junior Daikiel Shorts. junior Devonte Mathis, sophomore Shelton Gibson, sophomore Jacky Marcellus, redshirt freshman Lamar Parker, redshirt freshman Ricky Rogers.

Summer contenders: Incoming freshman Jovon Durante, incoming freshman Gary Jennings, incoming sophomore Ka'Raun White.

The skinny: Thompson (49 receptions, 598 yards, 2 TDs) and Shorts (24 receptions, 346 yards, 2 TDs) are the Mountaineers' top returning targets. Neither guy has proven he can be the man, but both players will looking to change that with a strong spring showing. Thompson has shown flashes of playmaking ability, while Shorts has been an impact player since his freshman season. If either makes a jump similar to the one White made from his junior to senior season, WVU’s receiver question could be answered. If not, Dana Holgorsen’s program has plenty of other options with Myers and Davis among the returnees with experience and talented young players in Gibson, Parker and Rogers looking to impress this spring.

Prediction: Even though the Mountaineers have some experienced options at receiver, this battle should last deep into the preseason with Durante, Jennings and White each having the potential to step on campus in the summer and start making an immediate impact. The Mountaineers can’t replace White with one receiver, but the overall depth should result in WVU having more than four receivers with double-digit receptions in 2015 unlike 2014, when White, Alford, Thompson and Shorts were the lone receivers to pass that mark.