Who Has to Step Up Their Game in 2021?

(Photo by Ben Queen – USA Today) 


As with all teams, WVU had a few players who underperformed during the 2020 season. These individuals may not have been all out bad, but they left some to be desired on the field.

These three players are Mountaineers who may not have put forth their best efforts this past season, but absolutely must step up their game moving forward for their team, and to keep their place on the depth chart.

Here are THREE Mountaineers who have to produce in 2021:

  • Evan Staley (K, R-Senior): Staley didn’t have the season that he hoped to in 2020, due to a knee injury cutting it short. However, even before that, Staley had been through sort of a rough patch dating back to 2019. We have seen what he is capable of, particularly during the 2018 season that saw him connect on 80% of his attempts. The Mountaineers have capable legs behind him, and if he wishes to remain the team’s kicker in his final season, he must return to form. I have faith in Staley, and if he can shake off his injury, I believe he will once again become consistent for WVU.
  • Sam James (WR, R-Junior): James’ potential is insane. If he can shake off the drops and inconsistencies he has struggled with, he will become one of the most dangerous pass catchers in the Big 12. A sophomore slump saw him drop in production in 2020, with him tallying 31 catches for 300 yards and two scores. The clock is ticking on James, and if he wants to finally become the receiver we know he can be, it must happen in 2021. These stats won’t cut it, but we feel that with the right preparation this offseason, he will be in for a massive breakout season next year.
  • Jarret Doege (QB, R-Senior): Doege wasn’t as bad as many fans make him out to be, but there is still some to be desired with his play. Passing 2,587 yards and only four interceptions was solid for a shortened season, but his 14 touchdowns must improve. The Bowling Green transfer also must become more elusive in the pocket, an area of his game he has struggled with mightily. The Mountaineers have talent waiting in the wings in Garrett Greene and Will “Goose” Crowder, if Doege fails to make improvements through the first half of the season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of the youngsters get a shot. The 2021 season will be make-or-break for Doege.