By Bob Hertzel
Times West Virginian
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 email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.