Simms Returns, Brings WVU Deep Threat

Dana Holgorsen mentioned after Sunday’s loss to Virginia Tech that West Virginia had been missing a deep threat. This weekend, the Mountaineers will get him back.

Despite racking up 371 yards and three touchdowns through the air on a Hokies defense that had been known to hold quarterbacks and receivers well below their averages, the WVU head coach felt there could have been even more production with the full depth of the position.

Enter Marcus Simms.

Following a one-game suspension for an August DUI arrest, the sophomore receiver is set to return to the lineup Saturday against East Carolina.

“It’s big for us as far as depth,” WVU receivers coach Tyron Carrier said Tuesday. “We tired out so bad in the end of this past game. So just the depth and his abilities to blow the top off a defense, it helps us a lot.”

Simms had been mentioned many times during the offseason as a player who had made great strides both on and off the field as he matured from his first year to his second. The arrest certainly proved a setback in that regard, and Holgorsen said in a statement that Simms would have to “fulfill certain requirements before his reinstatement to competition.”

On Tuesday, Holgorsen said Simms is “ready to roll,” indicating that he had fulfilled those requirements.

He helps. He has that speed factor,” Holgorsen said of the 6-foot, 196-pound wideout. “Marcus gives us a speed guy that we desperately need at both those wide out positions. We feel good with [junior wide receiver] David [Sills], we feel good with [redshirt senior wide receiver] Ka’Raun [White] playing outside. We have to have the next guy in there that can stretch it and those guys can do that.”

What the head coach feels was missing from the passing game Sunday is precisely what Simms has shown the ability to provide, even last year in minimal playing time.

“Marcus Simms is Marcus Simms. He can flat out fly,” Carrier said. “That always helps take some pressure off the intermediate routes and it backs the defense off so we can run the ball better also.”

As a freshman, Simms had six receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown.

West Virginia hosts East Carolina Saturday at noon on Fox Sports 2.

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