David Sills Excels Inside or Out for WVU - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

David Sills Excels Inside or Out for WVU

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David Sills returns to WVU's receiving corps as one of Will Grier's top targets this fall. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle) David Sills returns to WVU's receiving corps as one of Will Grier's top targets this fall. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)
MORGANTOWN -

David Sills sure looked like a wide receiver on Saturday.

In his first public action for the Mountaineers since catching the game-winning touchdown in the Cactus Bowl, the quarterback-turned-receiver was as comfortable at the position as anyone else dressed in the gold and blue.

Sills and the coaching staff had high expectations for his return as he focused solely on receiving rather than throwing footballs, but the production he had in the final scrimmage of the spring was impressive for a different reason.

Through 13 practices in March and April, the redshirt junior had only lined up on the inside. He was listed behind Gary Jennings on the depth chart until the 14th practice, when his coaches asked him to line up on the outside at the “X” receiver position.

Just two days before he would be playing in front of a crowd in full pads at Milan Puskar Stadium, Sills was given new responsibilities in the offense.

“I just want to be on the field helping the team,” Sills said he told offensive coordinator Jake Spavital. “He’ll put me wherever he thinks best fits me and I’m open to really anywhere. He’ll find a great place for me and he’s really good at putting all of his playmakers – receivers and running backs and everything – in position to get the ball and do something with it.”

The move worked out with remarkable results. Sills led all WVU receivers with six receptions for 96 yards, accounting for half of quarterback Will Grier’s completions and nearly half of his yardage in his Mountaineer debut.

“From what I saw today, you’re going to see him play all over the place,” Spavital said following the Gold-Blue Game. “I think he’s a very intelligent kid. He loves the game. He’s constantly in the facility, he’s wanting me to put more on his plate every single day and from what I saw today and how he handle it, you’re going to see his role increase.”

Sills began the 2015 season providing depth behind Skyler Howard in the quarterback room, but soon became an intriguing prospect at wide receiver with his 6-foot-3, 201-pound frame. He first lined up at the position six games into the schedule in a match-up with No. 2 Baylor. Sills finished the day with two catches for 64 yards and a touchdown.

After a year of pursuing his passion of playing quarterback at El Camino College, Sills returned to West Virginia knowing that his future in football was likely where Dana Holgorsen saw it: lining up as a receiver.

“He’s our most valuable guy right now, which is not surprising,” the head coach said of Sills “He has a starting quarterback mentality. He’s extremely, extremely football smart. I knew that when I recruited him. That rubs off on the guys in the huddle and that connection has been fun to watch. I think over the course of the next two years, it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.”

Holgorsen said earlier this year that Sills immediately contacted quarterback Will Grier when he made the decision to rejoin the Mountaineers. A smart move for a player who wanted to make sure he became a trusted asset in Grier’s arsenal.

It doesn’t hurt that when Sills lines up in this offense, he is able to see the defense from the perspective of both a receiver and a quarterback.

“It’s hard to put into words how much it helps,” Sills said. “If I see a safety rolling over top of me, I know Will’s seeing it and he knows I’m seeing it, so I know where to go and he’ll know where to go. Honestly, all of the receivers are really at that point, too.”

This spring, Grier has been evaluating his receivers in much the same way as his coaching staff has. Spavital says his quarterback is making note of which routes each skill player excels with and which could use more work and he takes that into consideration when deciding where to put the ball.

On Saturday, Sills showed that he has his quarterback’s confidence all over the field.

“It was the first time we actually got to let David go out there and do his thing,” Spavital said of Sills. “He’s a big target. Being the first time we actually put him out there at that outside receiver position, I think it’s pretty safe to say that he can get that jump ball pretty good right now.”

Now Sills and the rest of the receivers enter the offseason, where timing between quarterback and receiver can significantly improve if the players are willing to put the work in on their own, outside of practice. If Saturday was just the beginning, it should be fun to see what August, September and the rest of the 2017 season have in store.

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