Many folks believe that 6’0″, 206 lb. soph Skyler Howard will win the starting QB position this season at WVU. I agree that Howard is the leader going into spring practice, as he should be. He started two games last season after replacing Clint Trickett late in the Kansas State game after Trickett suffered a concussion.
Holgorsen stated in his latest presser that the starting QB would not only have to be able to run the offense, but also had to be an accurate passer.
Howard starting two games gives him the edge as far as knowing and being able to execute Holgorsen’s offense. Holgorsen also stated that as far as the freshmen QBs go, that Chris Chugunov was ahead of William Crest and David Sills in learning the offense.
Holgorsen added that Austin Hensley was as good as Crest, Sills and Chugunov. This means that a preferred walk-on is in the battle for the starting job.
Crest took a few snaps late in the Towson game. Thus, he should have more knowledge of the offense being a redshirt freshman compared to Sills and Chug who are true freshman. Hensley is also a redshirt freshman.
What do we know about these QBs? We know that Howard struggles throwing the deep ball, and he is late with his release. Some people praise Howard for his game against Iowa State, but that was Iowa State which isn’t a top team. In the Texas A&M game he looked like the same Howard we saw during spring practice. His passes were late, off target, and he had to use his entire body to throw the ball deep.
When you look at the high school highlight videos of William Crest, 6’2″, 214 lbs. r-fr you may conclude that he is an outside wide receiver playing QB. Crest has speed, good hands and great moves. He has no problem throwing the deep ball and extending plays.
David Sills is the most athletic of the group and in his high school videos you see a guy that could be a running back. At 6’3″ and 180 lbs, he has no hesitation in lowering his shoulders and taking on tacklers. Sills has a good arm and can throw the ball deep. He can also extend plays.
Chris Chugunov, 6’1″ and 180 lbs, is the best pure passer of this group. When you watch his high school highlights, you see a QB with a quick release, who can fit a ball into a tight window, who can extend plays, and who can and will run the ball. However, he doesn’t have the speed of a Crest or Sills.
Austin Hensley, 6’2″ and 185 lbs. can also throw the deep ball and extend plays, can and will run with the ball. His accuracy is about the same as that of Crest and Sills.
What I came away with after listening to Holgorsen’s presser was that Chugunov was leading Crest when it came to learning and running Holgorsen’s offense. Holgorsen stated that Chugunov was very smart and learned things quickly. Just by listening to Holgorsen’s comments it was evident that Chugunov was a factor in the QB battle.
I have no clue who will win the starting position, but I would not be surprised to see Chugunov get the nod. He will pick-up needed game experience in WVU first two games against Georgia Southern and Liberty. The reason I give Chugunov the nod for now is how quickly he is learning Holgorsen’s offense and his passing skills.
When you watch highlights of Howard, Crest, Sills and Hensley what you don’t see is a quick release, and a QB who can fit the ball into tight windows. As far as extending plays all these guys can extend plays. Howard’s passing didn’t improve throughout last season, as was evident in the Texas A&M game.
For Howard to win the starting job he must improve his passing accuracy. If Chugunov can continue to out pace the other freshmen QB at learning and executing Holgorsen’s offense, and with his passing skills he could not only become the front runner, he may win the starting job out-right.
If you have been following me, you know that I would not be surprised to see Crest moved to outside wide receiver. I think that is his natural position and he could excel there.
I wish all these players the best and good luck going forward.