By MIKE CASAZZA
Receiver Ivan McCartney, who left West Virginia’s football team in November, is back on campus to begin summer classes and a comeback attempt with the Mountaineers.
WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen said Sunday he’s welcomed McCartney back to the team for his final season of eligibility and that McCartney will be considered a newcomer as he goes through the strength and conditioning program and team workouts this summer.
“Second chances are few and far between,” Holgorsen said. “This kid’s got an opportunity to right the ship. Maybe he makes the best of it. Maybe he doesn’t.”
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound McCartney played in eight games as a junior in 2012 and started against TCU in place of injured Stedman Bailey, but quit the team before the Nov. 10 game at Oklahoma State. He caught only nine passes for 112 yards last season.
Holgorsen said McCartney was back home in Florida during the spring semester. Holgorsen said McCartney is eligible and will again be on scholarship — and that doesn’t count toward the 2013 class of recruits. McCartney was a U.S. Army All-American at Florida’s Miramar High School, where he played with Bailey and quarterback Geno Smith.
McCartney played in 12 games as a freshman in 2012, but only caught one pass. He looked to be on the way to fulfilling his potential a year later in Holgorsen’s first season and caught 34 passes for 455 yards and three touchdowns in the first six games.
His production dipped, though, and he only caught 15 passes for 130 yards in the final seven games.
WVU is in need of receivers. Tavon Austin and Bailey were both drafted into the NFL last month and the team’s third-leading receiver, J.D. Woods, exhausted his collegiate eligibility. The leading returning receiver is Jordan Thompson, who caught 13 passes for 85 yards last season.
Two of WVU’s six recruits as receivers were on campus for spring practice.
Mike Casazza is a sportswriter with the Charleston Daily Mail.