Since joining the Big 12 in 2012, West Virginia has had 10 different quarterbacks start a game for them. Today, we take a look at these signal-callers and rank them based on their achievements and statistics.
Here are our rankings of ALL of WVU’s starting quarterbacks since joining the Big 12:
10. Jack Allison (2018-2019, 0-1 record): When he transferred to WVU from Miami, many expected him to be the successor to Will Grier. However, that never panned out. Allison only saw extended action in two games, and lost his only start to Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl, 34-18. He finished his Mountaineer career completing only 59.2% of his passes to go along with 496 yards and 2 touchdowns to 4 interceptions. Though Allison was a terrific teammate, his shortcomings on the field couldn’t save him from finishing dead last on this list.
9. Chris Chugunov (2016-2017, 0-2 record): If we’re being honest, Chugunov was never really supposed to see the field in 2017, but after an injury to Will Grier, the New Jersey native was forced into action. He did the best he could, but the offense struggled mightily with him under center. He lost his two starts to Oklahoma and Utah in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, and could never find his groove. His completion percentage was a terrible 47.4%, and he compiled only 551 passing yards and 3 touchdowns to 3 interceptions. Considering the terrible circumstances he was thrown into, this gives him leverage for a spot above last on this list.
8. Ford Childress (2013, 1-1 record): Childress was expected to be Dana Holgorsen’s first homerun quarterback commit at WVU, but sadly his career was derailed before it began. He would finally see the field in 2013, but an injury would sideline him for the remainder of the season. Starting two games, he was able to defeat Georgia State 41-7 and put up impressive numbers, but he would follow that up with a 37-0 loss to Maryland where he didn’t even pass for 100 yards. Despite having all of the talent in the world, Childress would leave WVU following the 2013 season for reasons mostly unknown. For his Mountaineer career, he finished with a completion percentage of 57.1% while throwing for 421 yards with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
7. Paul Millard (2011-2014, 1-2 record): Millard’s career was a strange one. He wasn’t the worst quarterback WVU has ever had, and he wasn’t the best. His career highlights include coming in cold off of the bench and almost knocking off nationally-ranked Texas, and following that performance up with a loss to lowly Kansas the following week. Not just a loss, but a loss that helped the Jayhawks snap their 27-game conference losing streak. As a starter, Millard’s only career win came against William & Mary in the 2013 season opener, 24-17. Statistically he was average, completing 53.7% of his passes to go along with 1,333 yards and 9 touchdowns to 9 interceptions. He was more consistent than Childress, which is what helped him place one spot higher on this list.
6. Austin Kendall (2019-2020, 3-6 record): Had it not been for Kendall, WVU likely wouldn’t be going into this offseason with a Liberty Bowl championship under their belt. After transferring from Oklahoma, Austin Kendall was not expected to pick up right where Will Grier left off, but to be solid nonetheless. For the first half of the season, he delivered. However, things quickly fell of the tracks after a five-game losing streak in 2019, and he would ultimately lose his starting job for the Kansas State game and never reclaim it. Kendall’s statistics for his WVU career were decent, finishing with a completion percentage of 60.6 percent with 2,153 yards and 14 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He has since entered the transfer portal, where he will likely land on his feet at another school and hit the ground running.
5. Clint Trickett (2013-2014, 8-10 record): Trickett came into the WVU program at a bad time during its Big 12 development. The team had just lost almost its entire offensive production from 2012, and he would have to battle it out with Paul Millard and Ford Childress for the starting job. He would eventually become the “guy” for the team, and engineer some exciting moments in Morgantown. His best moment came against fourth-ranked Baylor in 2014, where he led the Mountaineers to a huge upset victory, 41-27. However, his career was cut short due to concussions, and he could never quite stay healthy enough to reach full potential. His stats were impressive, completing 62% of his passes, he also put up 4,890 yards and 25 touchdowns to 17 interceptions.
4. Jarret Doege (2019-present, 8-5 record): Doege has been solid for the Mountaineers since taking over for Austin Kendall in 2019. His only down moment was a poor performance against Army in the Liberty Bowl which resulted in his benching, but outside of that he has done his job in Morgantown. Going into 2021, he should likely be the starter, despite fans being ready to move on from him. In his career to this point, he has orchestrated two upset wins over nationally ranked Kansas State teams, 24-20 in 2019 and 37-10 in 2020. Doege hasn’t set the world on fire with statistics, but a stat line of 64.4% completion percentage and 3,405 yards with 21 touchdowns to only 7 interceptions is impressive nonetheless.
3. Skyler Howard (2014-2016, 19-9 record): I really wanted to put Howard at #2 on this list, but I will settle with this position. Skyler Howard is honestly one of my all-time favorite WVU quarterbacks. His grit and determination set him apart from any signal-caller we have ever seen in Morgantown, setting the standard moving forward. Though he never knocked off a ranked opponent as a starter, his huge performance in a 43-42 win over Arizona State in the Cactus Bowl is a memory WVU fans will take with them for a very long time. Howard finished as one of the best passers in WVU history, netting 7,302 yards with 60 touchdowns to 24 interceptions and a 57.1% completion percentage. He is also the only Mountaineer quarterback in the Big 12 to have a big part in the running game, and he finished with 1,105 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground.
2. Will Grier (2017-2018, 15-7 record): Despite being the most controversial quarterback on this list, Grier was so damn talented I had to put him at #2 above Howard. Though he really hasn’t panned out in the NFL, Grier brought a lot of attention to Morgantown with him. After transferring from Florida, he slid right into the starting quarterback position and never looked back. Grier’s game-winning touchdown pass and two-point conversion against Texas in 2018 will go down as one of the most exhilarating moments in the program’s history. While he wasn’t the most decorated passer in WVU history, he would have been had he played one more season. He compiled 7,354 yards with 71 touchdowns to 21 interceptions on a 65.7% completion percentage.
- Geno Smith (2009-2012, 26-13 record): You can’t argue with greatness. Geno Smith is easily WVU’s best starting quarterback in the Big 12 so far, despite spending his first three seasons in the Big East. His career highlights were plentiful, with the most prominent coming with an Orange Bowl performance that saw him rack up 7 total touchdowns while leading the team to a 70-33 win. As the school’s all-time passing leader, Smith threw for 11,662 yards with 98 touchdowns to 21 interceptions while completing an impressive 67.4% of his passes. Not only is Smith WVU’s best quarterback since joining the Big 12, but he is also arguably one of the best in the program’s history.