MORGANTOWN - If it's true that the clothes make the man, then does a uniform make a football player?
Well, probably not. But it can certainly sway one or two in the recruiting process.
In fact, when Shawne Alston first got a glimpse of West Virginia's new gray outfits he was as excited about them as anything he'd seen in a while.
"I read an article where Coach [Dana] Holgorsen said it was a recruiting thing and I think so, also,'' said Alston, WVU's senior tailback. "I mean, you come in and show those kids something different they've never seen before they'll want to come and put it on, too.''
West Virginia's publicity department brought the new gray uniforms out for the first time Wednesday, dressing receiver Ryan Nehlen in the full ensemble, which includes gray jersey and pants with blue lettering and even a new gray helmet.
"I like them,'' Alston said. "It's just something a little bit different.''
And different, he said, is appealing. Alston was asked if a unique uniform might have swayed him four years ago when he was making his college choice, and he didn't hesitate.
"Yeah,'' Alston said. "Like if you went out and got some all-black [uniforms] I might redshirt this year and come back next year.''
Combined with the gold, blue and white jerseys and pants that have been worn for years, the new set gives the team 16 combinations it can wear. Add the two different helmets to the mix and there are now potentially 32 unique combinations.
Traditionally, the team's seniors have had a say in what uniforms are worn for each game, but as for when this year's team might don the new duds, Alston said the sooner the better.
"No, we haven't decided yet,'' Alston said. "If I have a say-so I think we'll be breaking them out Week 1.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.