(Photo by Frank Jansky – Icon Sportswire)
No, Austin Kendall is not the most successful quarterback in the history of the Mountaineer Football program – I feel that is pretty evident. However, personally, he will go down as one of my favorites.
Going into the 2019 season, I didn’t expect him to pick up right where Will Grier left off, but I expected him to be solid. Through the early portion of the season, it seemed as if I was correct with my analysis. However, things happened, WVU struggled, and he would lose his starting job after a 38-17 loss to Texas Tech.
Kendall would go over an entire calendar year before seeing extended playing time again, but when he did, he would provide a spark in what is the most important win in the Neal Brown era so far.
After Jarret Doege struggled in the first half of the Liberty Bowl against Army, Kendall would replace him in the second half, finishing 8 for 17 with 121 passing yards and two touchdowns. His efforts would help lead WVU to a 24-21 comeback win over Army, and place them in perfect position for a solid third year of the Neal Brown era.
Any other quarterback in Kendall’s position would have bolted at first chance, but he didn’t. He remained the course, was a tremendous teammate, and for this, was given the opportunity to put his name in WVU bowl game history.
Players like Kendall are rare in College Football. Nine chances out of ten, players are on a team for their own benefit, but not Kendall. Even when times got tough and he was not seeing the playing time that he would like, he didn’t quit. Kendall kept plugging away, and his hard work and dedication paid off in the end.
When I talk quarterbacks, Kendall won’t be in the Geno Smith, Skyler Howard, and Will Grier category for me. Neither will he be included when discussing Rasheed Marshall, Marc Bulger, and Jeff Hostetler. Instead, Kendall will be in a category of his own.
He won’t be remembered for his stats, athleticism, nor the attraction that he brought to WVU. No – instead, I will remember Austin Kendall for his best characteristic of all, being a Mountaineer.
He remained dedicated, and stuck with the Old Gold and Blue when everything was against him. His Liberty Bowl comeback will go down as one of WVU’s best postseason moments, and it couldn’t belong to a more deserving player.
Austin Kendall is one of my all-time favorite WVU quarterbacks, and I truly don’t care if that is a popular opinion. He deserves the recognition.