The best football players from WVU
By John McKinely
West Virginia University has produced some incredible football players over the years. Not only did they keep the fans coming back game after game, you can bet that as Moutaineers they went to make a name for themselves in the NFL.
The Mountaineers have produced world class players in all positions, from Kicker to QB and everywhere in between. Here are some of the best players to step onto a field that once wore the famous blue and gold.
Pat White is still, without doubt, the best Mountaineer QB of all time. White played four seasons at WVU before being drafted to the Miami Dolphins. But at West Virginia he set the field ablaze with his incredible skill and abilities.
White is the only QB in NCAA history to win four straight Bowl wins, with two of those being the Sugar and the Fiesta Bowl. He also holds the NCAA record for rushing yards by a QB, with 4,480 yards under his belt.
White also made over 100 touchdowns during his career, with 56 passing and 47 rushing. His 10,529 yards of total offense is no.1 in Mountaineers history. He is a true West Virginia legend and may never be matched.
Harris was a West Virginia legend at QB before Pat White. During his sophomore year in 1988, Harris threw for West Virginia’s first undefeated season. He also holds the university’s record for total yards, at 7,334.
Harris also became one of the few quarterbacks in Division 1 history to pass for over 5,000 yards and rush for over 2,000 more. In a game against Penn State in 1988, Harris alone out gained the entire Penn State team. Both White and Harris are absolute WVU legends.
At running back, there hasn’t been anyone like Steve Slaton. Although some may think there have been RB’s that deserve to be called the best, Slaton was definitely in a league of his own.
In his freshman year at WVU, he was named Big East Rookie of the year, and ECAC Rookie of the year. He also holds the college record for most touchdowns in a single game – six – as well as most points scored in a single game, an impressive 36.
Slaton also holds the record for most career touchdowns – 55 – as well as most points by a career non-kicker – 318. He is definitely one of the most well-known players to come from West Virginia.
Jett is his name, and he was a jet on the field. James Jett played for the Mountaineers between 1989 and 1992, and was one of their most successful wide receivers. His pace was electric, and once he got into his stride, he was incredibly difficult to stop.
After graduating, Jett was drafted to the Los Angeles Raiders where, in his rookie season, he was outstanding, recording 771 yards on 33 receptions, with three touchdowns, not bad for a rookie. Jett finished his career with the Raiders, and ended up being their 8th leading receiver.
Kickers are often the forgotten men on a football field, except in the case of Pat McAfee. The place kicker and punter retired in 2017 but spent eight seasons at the Indianapolis Colts. He was already making waves in his freshman year at WVU. He was a starter, and was 11 for 18 on field goals.
As a Mountaineer, he was most famous for a 52-yard winning kick against Villanova. West Virginia may have had giants at QB, WR, and RB, but McAfee left a lasting legacy as a kicker.
If you go back to the Fifties, you’ll come across a linebacker by the name of Sam Huff. not only is he a Pro-Football Hall of Famer, he was also the first professional football player to be featured on the cover of TIME Magazine.
Huff spent his four college years at West Virginia, where he built himself up to not only one of the best linebackers in NFL history but most definitely one of the best players to ever call themselves a Mountaineer.
Avon Cobourne made his mark at WVU very quickly after the departure of Amos Zereoue. During his first season, Cobourne ranked first in the Big East and 13th in the NCAA for rushing yards.
Cobourne ended up rushing for over 1000 yards in each of his four seasons at WVU. he also holds the record for most career yards rushed (5164). In 2002, he was also a Heisman Trophy candidate, and this All-American is easily one of the best running backs to play for West Virginia.
Clearly, WVU has been the stomping ground for some of the best college football players, as well as some of the best NFL players in recent history.
They have produced talent in all positions, and to this day, are still regarded as one of the best football universities in the USA, as well as a go-to school for players wanting to go pro.