(Photo by WVU Athletics)
When the Mountaineers kick things off at Penn State next September, they will be doing so with either Garrett Greene or Nicco Marchiol under center. Both quarterbacks saw time in the final three games of 2022 following the benching of J.T. Daniels.
Greene, who started the final two games, completed 43 of 78 passes for 493 yards and five touchdowns to three interceptions. He also added 45 carries for 275 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
On the other hand, Marchiol was used sparingly. The Chandler, Arizona product saw action against Towson and Oklahoma State. He finished the season completing 4 of 13 passes for 61 yards and one touchdown. Marchiol accumulated 32 yards on 6 carries for the rushing side of things.
The two will be going into 2023 with a clean slate, with both being relatively even with each other in the competition. Though Greene has the most experience, the talent Marchiol possesses could certainly propel him to claiming victory on the depth chart.
Personally, this will be the first quarterback competition I’m excited for in quite a while. Everyone will have their opinions on who should start, but nobody will truly know who has the upper hand. This should be an entertaining battle all the way through.
What makes this competition even more interesting is the historical component of it. For the better part of the last decade, the Mountaineers have religiously started a transfer at the quarterback position to begin the season. With both Greene and Marchiol being high school recruits, this will end the long streak that WVU established during the Dana Holgorsen days.
How far back do we have to go to find a non-transfer quarterback that started the season opener for WVU?
It was 2013 and Paul Millard started in a 24-17 victory over William & Mary.
Nicco Marchiol or Garrett Greene will be the first non-transfer quarterback to start a season opener for WVU since Paul Millard in 2013.
— Clark Johnson (@_jamesclark3_) December 22, 2022
If you look at Mountaineer Football over the last decade, they haven’t had a successful high school recruit at quarterback since Geno Smith. Since his graduation in 2012, the Mountaineers have had three high school guys start at quarterback other than Greene (who started the final two games of 2022).
Paul Millard, Ford Childress, and Chris Chugunov.
None of those three were able to gain any steam, and none could hold onto or win the starting job outright.
Not only will Greene or Marchiol be breaking the “transfer streak,” but they really have the chance to be the first successful “naturally” recruited quarterback for WVU in a decade.
Considering the talent of both, I firmly believe whoever wins this competition with achieve that feat.
West Virginia opens the 2023 season at Penn State on September 2nd.