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WVU football position battles to watch

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Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, 10:20 p.m.
 

West Virginia opened football camp Thursday.

The Tribune-Review breaks down position battles to watch.

1. Running back: With witness intimidation charges dropped against Wendell Smallwood, the Mountaineers are back to a full house of five worthy ballcarriers, some of whom will double as slot receivers. Pitt transfer Rushel Shell might be the most talented runner, but how he fits into the Air Raid offense remains to be seen.

2. Free safety: Sophomore Jeremy Tyler, who had 10 unassisted tackles (2 12 for loss) and a forced fumble against Iowa State in his lone 2013 start, emerged from spring practice No. 1 on the depth chart. But Dravon Henry, a freshman from Aliquippa, might take away the job.

3. Wide receiver: The Mountaineers accounted for 16 receiving TDs in 2013. The prior season, future St. Louis Rams Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey rolled up 37. OK, so Geno Smith was doing the throwing in 2012 and WVU ran a QB carousel in 2013. But more will be asked from returnees Kevin White, Daikiel Shorts, Mario Alford and Jordan Thompson, and newcomers like Ricky Rogers, a freshman from Gateway, will get long looks.

Newcomer to watch: Henry, who rushed for more than 5,000 yards at Aliquippa but is better suited to defense, will spend a lot of time on the field.

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