Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

January 25, 2013

Stars appear to be rising again for former West Virginia quarterbacks

BECKLEY — Former West Virginia University quarterback Pat White — who won four bowl games, including two BCS victories, leading the Mountaineers — is planning on making a comeback — in something.

Earlier this week, a story on al.com quoted White, who was attending Senior Bowl practices trying to get his name and face back in the heads of NFL coaches and general managers, as saying “I want an opportunity to get back into the NFL.”

After being selected with the 44th pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, White played in 13 games as a rookie but rushed for just 21 yards and didn’t complete a pass in five attempts.

The 2009 Senior Bowl MVP, who finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting after his senior year at WVU in 2008, had to be helped off the field in his final game against the Steelers after a helmet-to-helmet collision with a Pittsburgh defender, and he never played another professional game after his rookie season.

But with the new emphasis on the spread attack and mobile quarterbacks in the NFL, White believes he could still play at the highest level if given the opportunity, and he’s asking NFL teams to consider giving him a shot.

If the comeback in football doesn’t work out, there’s always baseball. A report on the (Orlando) Sun Sentinel website Thursday said White has an offer in hand from the Miami Marlins to head to spring training for a chance to try to land on one of the club’s minor league affiliates.

White was drafted by the Angels out of high school in 2004 before deciding to turn down their offer, as well as a football scholarship to LSU, to head to WVU.

A left-handed outfielder, White hit .487 with 28 steals as a senior.

After being cut from the Dolphins in 2010, White did give baseball another try for a short time, signing a contract with the Royals and heading to an instructional league, but he never played an official game.

• • •

Another former Mountain-eer quarterback should also have strong options for a professional future.

NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah rated Geno Smith, who played his final game for WVU in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl loss to Syracuse, as the No. 1 quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft in April.

After seeing four quarterbacks drafted in the first round last year, Jeremiah said this year’s crop could be much smaller.

“I really only feel good — confident — in one guy,” said the former NFL scout. “I think Geno Smith’s going to be a first-round pick no matter what happens going forward.”

Jeremiah said in a story on NFL.com that he had been high on Smith for most of the year but lost some confidence after seeing him struggle in the Pinstripe Bow. After watching him work at the IMG Academy, where Smith is spending his time preparing for the draft, though, he’s now confident he’s the top quarterback in this year’s draft.

• • •

WVU announced Friday that a ticket package for the Mountaineers’ 10 regular season home baseball games at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston will go on sale Monday.

The packages begin at $70 for reserved seating and $50 for general admission and can be purchased through the West Virginia Power box office at 304-344-2287. The package will include three-game series with Texas Tech (March 22-24), Oklahoma (May 3-5) and TCU (May 10-12) and a nonconference game with Morehead State on April 16.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to play 10 games in a wonderful venue like Appalachian Power Park,” said assistant athletic director for marketing and sales Matt Wells. “We look forward to bringing WVU baseball to Mountaineer fans in the Charleston area.”

WVU will also play four games in Beckley — a three-game Big 12 series with Kansas and a single game against Marshall — at Linda K. Epling Stadium. Details for purchasing tickets to those games will be released at a later date.

The WVU baseball team will play its first game under new head coach Randy Mazey on Feb. 15 at North Florida.

— E-mail: chuffman@

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