The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

December 9, 2013

Mountaineer QB room gets more crowded with JUCO commit

Just because the West Virginia University football season ended with a disappointing 4-8 finish doesn’t mean the quarterback competition, which dominated the conversation throughout the fall, is over.

It appears as though there’s a new candidate.

Multiple recruiting services reported Sunday that Riverside City College quarterback Skyler Howard gave a verbal commitment to WVU after his visit to Morgantown over the weekend.

Howard completed 219 of 325 passes for 3,151 yards and 33 touchdowns this season, helping lead Riverside to a 10-2 record. He tossed just six interceptions.

Lightly recruited out of high school — he enrolled at Stephen F. Austin originally, before deciding to go the junior college route — the Fort Worth, Texas, native received a lot of interest after his one season at Riverside. He had scholarship offers from New Mexico State and Northern Colorado, and California, Utah, Colorado, San Diego State, San Jose State and Virginia Tech had been in contact with him in recent weeks.

Howard plans on enrolling at WVU for the spring semester and will participate in spring practice. The 6-foot, 205-pound dual-threat signal caller will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Howard will become part of what could be a five-way battle for the starting quarterback position next fall.

Florida State transfer Clint Trickett, Paul Millard and Ford Childress all saw significant action this season, but none could perform well enough to hold down the job. Combined, they threw the same number of touchdowns as interceptions, 16, and the Mountaineers’ passing offense ranked sixth in the 10-team Big 12. Even worse, they ranked 100th nationally in passing efficiency.

Trickett, who will be a senior, played in eight games, completing 123 of 233 passes for 1,605 yards and seven touchdowns. He tossed seven interceptions. Paul Millard, who will also be a senior, played in seven games, completing 93 of 168 passes for 1,122 yards. He had six touchdowns and six picks.

Ford Childress, who will be a sophomore, played in two games before being lost for the year with a pectoral injury. He completed 36 of 63 passes for 421 yards. He threw three touchdowns and three interceptions.

WVU also has a solid commitment from 6-4 quarterback William Crest out of Baltimore’s Dunbar High School. A three-star prospect according to Scout.com, Crest is expected to have a bright future.

He had offers from Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio State, Rutgers, UTEP, Virginia and Virginia Tech before selecting the Mountaineers, but he isn’t likely to enroll early. His chances of earning a starting spot could be slim with just a month to prepare.

— E-mail: chuffman

@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

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