The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

September 20, 2013

Mountaineers WR Myers still has passion for baseball

MORGANTOWN — Over the years there have been players who mixed both football and baseball on a very high level, beginning with a pair of Heisman Trophy winners who made it to the major leagues.

The first was Vic Janowicz from Ohio State, but the second was a player who was far more famous, Bo Jackson of Auburn.

Add to them seven members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame — Deion Sanders, Ernie Nevers, Red Badgro, Paddy Driscoll, Ernie Nevers, Ace Parker and George Halas, who preceded Babe Ruth in right field for the New York Yankees, and Jim Thorpe — who also played baseball.

The most recent example of this phenomena is Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, who postponed his football career to first try baseball and to give hope to any number of other young players that this could be done.

One player who would have loved to have found a way to pursue both dreams is wide receiver KJ Myers, a key player on this year’s West Virginia University team that goes after its third victory Saturday against Maryland in M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens.

Myers was a pretty good baseball player in Jacksonville, Fla., but decided to concentrate on football to earn his way through college.

It does not mean he has turned his back on baseball.

“I love the game,” he admitted, a rare admission for a young football player in the current generation.

So what is it about baseball that Myers finds so attractive?

“I love the environment of the game of baseball,” he said. “It’s very different — the glory of the game. It has so much history. Being up to bat, being out in the field with your hat on, your shades on.”

No facemask. No gigantic helmet.

And no getting lost among 22 players seemingly running in every direction.

“It’s so much one-on-one. You versus pitcher. You stealing a base,” he said.

What, though, carries over into football?

“I played centerfield,” the 6-2,197-pound Myers said. “You track the ball the same way out there.”

Anyone who has seen Myers run under a pass for West Virginia can almost imagine him streaking into right centerfield to make an over-the-shoulder grab of a sure triple.

Any edge he can get in the battle for playing time here at West Virginia is vital, such is the battle between the likes of Daikiel Shorts, Kevin White, Ronald Carswell, Ivan McCartney, Mario Alford, DeVonte Mathis, Jordan Thompson and himself.

“The competition is crazy,” he said.

It is so crazy that it drives you to be your best — every time you step on the field.

“You can have no off days, can have no bad days. The pressure is on every time you step on that field,” Myers said. “Every day in practice you have to go hard; you have to be consistent. You can’t have drops; you can’t mess up any routes or any plays or anything like that.”

And this week the competition isn’t only against his own wide receivers and the Maryland defensive backs, but against the Terps’ talented two receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, a one-time WVU recruit.

“I want to make better plays than their receivers. I want to make their cornerbacks look bad,” Myers admitted.

And, with the discovery of redshirt freshman Ford Childress at quarterback, he believes he has a big chance to do just that.

“Ford has a great cool in the pocket. He’s also tall. We run our routes, and we can see him. We can spot him over the D-line and over the O-line,” Myers said. “He has a big arm and is not afraid to put the ball down the field and let us make a play.”

This willingness to go downfield makes him a dream quarterback for a daring receiver.

“That’s good,” Myers said. “You never know what is going to happen when that ball is in the air. Your receiver is going to want to make a play on the ball. I feel like a quarterback should take some risks once in a while.”

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Saban, family happy at Alabama

    Alabama football coach Nick Saban, whose team opens the season against West Virginia in Atlanta on Aug. 30, denied receiving or turning down this offseason an offer of $100 million to coach Texas, indicating he planned to finish his career as coach of the Crimson Tide.

    July 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Quarterback child prodigy’ comes to WVU amidst very high expectations

    Has West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen finally put the arrow he needs in his quiver with the commitment received Wednesday from high school quarterback David Sills, who is a rather extraordinary story and may also just be a rather extraordinary quarterback?

    July 18, 2014

  • WVU kicker Molinari ‘All-American boy’

    West Virginia kicker Mike Molinari may not be an All-American but he is an All-American boy.
    He was honored for that on Wednesday when the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association announced the West Virginia redshirt senior kicker/punter Michael Molinari is a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

    July 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Smallwood puts future in jeopardy

    The last thing West Virginia’s struggling football program needed as twilight was setting on Bastille Day in Morgantown was to have one of its own whisked off to the North Central Regional Jail on a fugitive warrant from another state, especially a player who had figured to play a key role in the resurrection of a program gone bad.

    July 16, 2014

  • WVU player arrested in Delaware case

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood has been arrested by university police and is being held at North Central Regional Jail awaiting extradition on a felony warrant out of Delaware.

    July 15, 2014

  • WVU hoping to add two non-conference contests

    West Virginia is nearing the completion of deals to play football games against long-time rival Virginia Tech, now in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Tennessee of the Southeastern Conference, according to a source close to the negotiations.
    An announcement is expected shortly.

    July 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: MLB All-Star game biggest celebration of top athletes

    You will pardon me if I find something else to do when the Pro Bowl rolls around, or if I try to find a “Three Stooges” marathon when it’s time for the NHL All-Star game. As for the NBA All-Star game, I’d rather watch a replay of a four-year-old Uruguay-Ethiopia World Cup soccer match in which I knew the outcome.

    July 14, 2014

  • Howes learns to ‘never settle’ as WVU administrator

    You probably don’t know much about Terri Howes, even though she is a rather high-ranking executive in the West Virginia University athletic department.
    “I like it that way,” she said, sitting in a large office at the Coliseum, decorated with pictures and memorabilia, a jar of candy sitting by the door for visitors to dip into.

    July 13, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads