Three-way quarterback competition heating up as preseason closes in

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It’s a question that hasn’t been asked in Morgantown in several years, but may be the biggest heading into the 2019 season. Who will play quarterback?

Stability at that position has been the norm at West Virginia as of late. For the last two summers, Will Grier was the clear-cut starter, and before that, Skyler Howard took the helm. This year, however, there are three candidates that could conceivably be calling the signals.

The three candidates — Austin Kendall, Jack Allison and Trey Lowe — have all taken different roads to West Virginia, and each have their own unique experiences.

On paper, Kendall seems to be the front-runner. The transfer from Oklahoma not only spent the last two seasons backing up Heisman Trophy winners, but some analysts like Fox Sports’s Bruce Feldman, say he may bring more to the table.

“I just think Austin probably is a guy who gives them maybe a little more in the pass game and he’s got a big enough arm,” Feldman told WV Illustrated. “I think he’s accurate, he’s got size and I think the guys he played behind and watched every day, I mean that’s gonna help.”

Allison, another transfer, is going into his second season as a Mountaineer and is also vying for the vacant starting job. He has the most experience in blue and gold of the three candidates, having appeared in 8 games in 2018 including a start in the bowl game. He also received the most playing time in this spring’s Gold-Blue game, in which he went 11-of-24 passing with a touchdown and an interception.

“Jack is a tall guy that can make every throw,” Neal Brown said. “He’s got really good arm talent, he’s strong, he’s been at West Virginia, he’s had some game experience.”

Fans may bring up his less-than-stellar performance in last season’s bowl game as a concern, but Brown says it’s not fair to evaluate him based on that one game.

“He started the bowl game and it didn’t go how he wanted it to,” Brown explained. “I don’t think that’s necessarily a fair judgement of him because he didn’t really know he was going to play for a long time, he didn’t have the maturation process going through the year.

Brown says that game allowed Allison to grow and prepare better for this season.

Coming from Miami, however, Feldman raises concerns about his previous school and their lack of recent quarterback success.

“I’d be surprised if Jack Allison ends up taking over the job,” Feldman said.
“…I mean [Allison came from Miami where they’ve really struggled at quarterback for a long time.”

Allison and Kendall may drive the conversation, but it’s important not to forget about Lowe. A two-sport athlete on both the football and baseball teams, Lowe was redshirted last season but made his first appearance in the bowl game.

As for his skill set, Neal Brown says he brings something to the table that his fellow quarterbacks may not.

“Trey Lowe is the best athlete of the three,” Brown said. “His ability to run, throws the deep ball extremely well and was productive in some scrimmages back in the spring.”

Lowe may not be the front-runner, but it’s safe to say he has his support. Much of this comes from his teammates on the baseball diamond, who hope he gets a shot.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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