The good news for West Virginia’s football team is that even after a 4-8 season, its worst since 2001, it managed to land four players on the All-Big 12 first and second teams.
The bad news is that three of those four won’t be back for 2014.
Houston transfer Charles Sims, who rushed for 1,095 yards and 11 touchdowns and caught a team-high 45 passes for 401 yards and three more scores in his only year in a Mountaineer uniform, was the lone WVU player on the first team. He was also the league’s Offensive Newcomer of the Year.
Sims is projected to be a second- to third-round pick in the NFL Draft.
WVU’s second-teamers were on the defensive side of the ball.
Senior defensive lineman Will Clarke finished the year with 49 tackles and a team-best six sacks. He had 17 tackles for loss and five quarterback hurries.
Senior safety Darwin Cook was second on the team with 74 tackles. He also had a team-best four interceptions to go along with three pass breakups and a sack.
The final second-teamer was sophomore punter Nick O’Toole, who was a pleasant surprise for the Mountaineers this season. The fan favorite, largely because of his mustache, averaged 44.1 yards per punt, including a long of 68 yards. He pinned 22 boots inside opponents’ 20-yard line and had 26 punts that went for at least 50 yards.
The Mountaineers also had five honorable mention selections on the team — Cody Clay (FB), Curtis Feigt (OL), Karl Joseph (DB), Nick Kwiatkoski (LB) and Quinton Spain (OL).
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A pair of WVU seniors will be taking part in the inaugural Medal of Honor Bowl on Jan. 11 in Charleston, S.C. The all-star game will be played on the campus of The Citadel.
Both Feigt and Pat Eger will participate in the contest, which will feature two 46-player teams.
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The Mountaineers picked up a couple of big commitments over the last couple of days in Aliquippa (Pa.) High School teammates Dravon Henry, who committed Monday, and Jaleel Fields, who committed Wednesday.
Henry was rated by Scout.com as a four-star cornerback. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound senior had scholarship offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin and others. He chose WVU over Pitt and Miami, his two other finalists.
Fields, a 6-2, 290-pound defensive tackle, is a three-star prospect. He had offers from Connecticut, Kent State, Pitt, Purdue, Temple and Toledo, and had received interest from Cincinnati and Clemson, among others.
— E-mail: chuffman@
register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.