By Cam Huffman
Former West Virginia University quarterback Pat White spent the winter asking only for a chance.
The Washington Redskins finally obliged.
White — who won four bowl games, including two BCS bowls — as the Mountaineer quarterback from 2005-2008, signed a deal with the Redskins Wednesday after working out for the club and passing a physical.
White was the 44th overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, but he played just one season for the Miami Dolphins. He was 0-for-5 passing and rushed for 81 yards on 21 carries before being released. He suffered a concussion in the 2009 season finale, was released during the 2010 preseason and hasn’t played since.
White announced this winter that he was looking to make a comeback, and he took part in WVU’s Pro Day, working out for a number of coaches and scouts.
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Another former Mountaineer quarterback, Geno Smith, will be featured on ESPN’s “Gruden QB Camp” tonight at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
The show, hosted by former Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden, is a popular feature where Gruden sits down with quarterback prospects to review film, talk Xs and Os and field questions about seemingly everything under the sun.
Smith, tabbed by many experts as the top quarterback prospect for the April 25 NFL Draft, recently drew criticism from Pro Football Weekly draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki, who called WVU’s all-time passing leader “a gimmick, overhyped product of the system lacking the football savvy, work habits and focus to cement a starting job.” He also said Smith was “not a student of the game” and “does not command respect from teammates and cannot inspire.”
Nawrocki, who made headlines a couple years ago when he wrote a similar analysis of Cam Newton, went on to say that Smith is “not committed or focused” and “cannot handle hard coaching.”
WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen came to his quarterback’s defense Tuesday night when asked about that assessment in a post-spring practice press conference.
“I don’t read Pro Football Weekly, but it was brought to my attention that a couple of people wanted me to comment on it,” said Holgorsen, who is preparing for his third season as the WVU head coach. “I don’t comment on stuff like that.
“You guys know how I feel about Geno. I am excited to go to New York with him. You don’t get invited to New York for the NFL Draft if you have issues. That is pretty safe to say. I am excited to be up there with him during that process, and he will be a great pro and will play for a long time.”
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WVU fans looking for some authentic gear to wear to Morgantown on game days, or a piece of Mountaineer history to display in their home or office, will have that opportunity on April 20 prior to the Gold-Blue game.
The WVU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will hold its third Mountaineer gear sale that morning from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility. Authentic Mountaineer football and basketball gear — including uniforms and helmets worn by the teams from 2007 to 2012 — will be on sale to the general public. The sale will also include soccer gear, such as shorts, jerseys, jackets and pants, and team graphic displays used throughout the athletic complexes. Chairs used on the floor of the WVU Coliseum will also be on sale.
“Based on the success of our past gear sales, our fans see a great value in obtaining our old Mountaineer gear,” said WVU associate athletic director Michael Szul. “The sale will provide a great opportunity for Mountaineer fans to purchase authentic game pants, jerseys, warmups and jackets, before finishing the afternoon off with the Gold-Blue game.”
Items can be purchased using Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express or cash. No checks will be accepted, and all sales will be final.
Tickets for the game are $10 and can be purchased online at www.wvugame.com or by calling the Mountaineer ticket office at 1-800-WVU-GAME. Tickets will be available at the gate on game day.
— E-mail: chuffman
@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.