After losing three talented skill players in the 2013 NFL Draft, West Virginia had to find a creative way to replace the holes left by the draftees.
In the past couple weeks, it's become evident that the Mountaineers have decided to heavily go the transfer route this off-season, with the additions of now Ronald Carswell, Charles Sims, Clint Trickett, and possibly Rushel Shell.
The first name is the biggest name: Charles Sims. The former Houston Cougar was heading into his senior season with high praise, before leaving UH. Rumors had him flirting with the Supplemental Draft and the University of California before finalizing his decision with WVU. The particulars of why he left Houston have yet to be released to the public. Although a senior. Sims won't have to sit out a year due to the NCAA's graduate transfer rules, allowing Sims to play from day one. Andrew Buie, the leading Mountaineer rusher from 2012, returns with the team, but Sims is a more talented back and should see the ball more than Buie in 2013. The 6'0” 205 running back can also play some slot, which is a plus in West Virginia's Air Raid offense. Actually, Houston's offense, while Sims was there, is not too different from what West Virginia does.
West Virginia's top three receivers last year accounted for 289 of the teams 378 receptions. None of those three return. Ronald Carswell, a former Alabama Crimson Tide member, hopes to help the receiving corp in it's transition of a post-Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey world. The 6'0” 180 Georgia native played one year at Alabama before transferring to Itawamba Community College. He'll have three years of eligibility, as he's a redshirt sophomore.
While this player isn't officially going to West Virginia, at this point, the fact that the Mountaineers are targeting Rushel Shell, despite already having Sims transfer in, is news-worthy. Shell was the number one running back prospect coming out of high school, and he stayed close to home, signing with the Pittsburgh Panthers. After a solid true freshman season, Shell left Pitt in April. After backing out of a UCLA transfer attempt, he tried to go back to Pitt, but it didn't work out. He announced recently that he was down to West Virginia and Kentucky. Unlike Sims, though, Shell would have to sit out a season before playing for the Mountaineers. If he redshirts during his transfer year, he'll still have three years of eligibility afterwards.
The last major offensive transfer West Virginia signed this off-season was Clint Trickett. The former Florida State quarterback decided to leave Tallahassee after Jameis Winston, a talented freshman, looked good in spring practice. Trickett is a graduate transfer, but as a junior, meaning he can play immediately, and he can play two years for WVU. Trickett lived in West Virginia for a while, when his dad was the Offensive Line coach for the Mountaineers (he's now the assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line coach at Florida State.) While there's an open quarterback battle, the 6'3” 185 junior has a clear lead for the job left open by Geno Smith.