In part one we took a look at Will Grier and Offensive Coordinator Jake Spavital. In this part we will look at the success of two Mountaineer receivers.
David Sills V Is The Real Deal
The most underwhelming signing at the beginning of 2017, was the signing of Wide Receiver David Sills V. Previously had a stint in Morgantown, where he was originally recruited as a Quarterback, but did not take long for the 6’4 freak to be moved to the outside in his freshman year. The next season Sills V took his talents to JUCO to try and give his quarterback dreams one more shot. Inevitably Sills V found himself back in Morgantown as a wide receiver.
Personally, there is no way I would have believed Sills would lead the Big 12 in receiving touchdowns as well as almost receive for 1,000-yards this season. A former quarterback, playing his first full season as a pass catcher, I for sure thought there would be more growing pains. But Sills transitioned almost seamlessly.
One of the best parts about Sills V game was his ability to create seperation, not only with his size, but with his route running. One of the hardest parts of being a good wide receiver is being able to run good routes, and not be predictable. The Delaware native did a great job on deep routes, giving head fakes, and breaking on routes, which made him double the nightmare. Not only does Sills V have size, but he also could compete with the best given his skill set.
Sills V physicality was fun to watch as well. Sills was never afraid of the one-on-one battles, and was never afraid of running routes across the middle of the field. Sills V next to Marcus Simms was the Mountaineers best downfield threat, mainly because of his ability to win jump ball match ups.
Sills set the standard very high for 2018, but with him and Quarterback Will Grier returning, they will just have to match their own success.
Gary Jennings Is a Special Case
Junior Wideout Gary Jennings caught a lot of criticism early in his Mountaineer career because of his ineffectiveness on special teams in the return game. Jennings heading into the 2017 season had a total of 17 catches for a total of 281 yards.
This years opening game against Virginia Tech, Jennings had a day. The Junior from Stafford, VA had 13 catches for 189-yards and a touchdown. Immediately everyone knew it was going to be a breakout season for the Junior wide receiver. Jennings turned out to be one of the more reliable targets in the entire nation. Jennings finished the year as the leading pass catcher in the Big 12 with 97 receptions. Jennings was fourth in receptions per game with 7.5 receptions a game. Along with his high volume of catches Jennings also had 1,096 receiving yards. Jennings was a great route runner and worked well in space, the only problem was, Jennings could not find the end zone. I think it is fair to say WR David Sills V was quarterback Will Grier’s favorite end zone target, but Jennings seemed nonexistent in the red zone game plan.
Jennings led the team in receiving yards but only had one touchdown this season. Not usual, but expect that to change in the future, especially after a breakout season like the one he had in 2017.
Side note: It will be interesting to see how roles expand or minimize with Alabama transfer T.J. Simmons coming into the picture. Simmons will be covered in Part 10 of this series.