John Denver has done it again.
With the strains of “Country Roads” echoing in the recesses of his mind, Clint Trickett decided to follow the yellow brick road and announced he was transferring to West Virginia University, letting those country roads take him home to the place he belongs.
The son of former WVU offensive line coach Rick Trickett, who served two terms with the Mountaineers, young Trickett was born in Preston County, and while he played his prep ball in Florida and began his college career at Florida State, he has found there’s no place like home.
Trickett is due to graduate from Florida State this month, which will leave him two years of eligibility at WVU without sitting out a year.
Trickett spent two years backing up first-round draft choices at Florida State, first Christian Ponder and then this year EJ Manuel, the first quarterback selected in this year’s NFL draft.
Trickett played in 16 games at FSU, starting only two after Manuel separated a shoulder. The Seminoles lost both games, but Trickett set a career high passing for 336 yards in a five-point loss to Clemson.
He competed for the starting quarterback job this spring but lost out in a four-man battle to redshirt freshman Jamie Winston, who went 12 for 15 for 205 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game.
Shortly after that Trickett announced he would transfer. He looked at three schools – Auburn and South Florida, in addition to West Virginia.
However, between the need for a quarterback in a quarterback-friendly offense that has sent some big-time signal callers to the NFL, along with so many sweet memories of his youth, made WVU irresistible to him.
“You’re playing at the school where you were throwing the damn ball around on the sidelines before games with Pat White,” he told West Virginia Illustrated. “This is where you grew up; you have friends there; this is where you’re from; it’s where you’ve visited three times a year since you’ve left. This is home; these are your people; this is your state. It’s more than I could ever ask for.”
He comes into a wide-open situation with Geno Smith having gone to the New York Jets in the second round of this weekend’s NFL draft.
Junior Paul Millard and redshirt freshman Ford Childress battled through the spring with neither taking control of the job.
While he is the most experienced of the group, he says even though other schools had offered him guarantees of a job he received no promises from coach Dana Holgorsen.
Holgorsen, however, sounded thrilled to have an experienced quarterback join the team.
“WVU football welcomes Clint Trickett home. He basically grew up in Morgantown, and I know he feels very comfortable here,” Holgorsen said in a prepared statement. “He’s an excellent student and grew up around the game of football, which shows in his composure on the field. I am excited that he has decided to finish his career as a Mountaineer.”
Trickett spoke of how growing up around the game of football in Morgantown influenced his decision.
“Pat White was a big influence; so was Rasheed (Marshall), in this whole process. I’ve got nothing but respect for those two guys. They’re great players, great quarterbacks,” he said.
“I’ve always been a quarterback; I’ve always looked up to them. Out of all the former players who have been talking to me, they say it’s crazy to think that the little kid who was playing tackle football in the end zone while they were practicing is now possibly going to be the quarterback at West Virginia. It’s cool, but now it’s time to get down to business, time to work.”
Email Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.
John Denver has done it again.
- Bob Herzel
HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism
This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.
HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps
A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.
HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters
The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.
He intrigued the media far more than Bob Stoops, the coach of preseason favorite Oklahoma, and more than Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, the preseason player of the year.
WVU, N.C. State to meet in football
Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.
HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention
When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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