Myers ready to make his mark
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - It might seem just a tad bit presumptuous, given his pass-catching history to date, but K.J. Myers has some pretty lofty goals.
A tad bit presumptuous?
In 2012, as a redshirt freshman, Myers caught two passes for 9 yards. He played the season behind Stedman Bailey, who caught a mere 112 more passes for 1,613 more yards.
Bailey is gone now, though, and Myers is ready to fill the void.
Make that audaciously ready.
"I want to break all his records,'' Myers said of Bailey's marks. "I tell him that.''
Myers tells Bailey that because the two still talk. In fact, they've talked pretty much since Myers arrived from Jacksonville's First Coast High School in the summer of 2011.
"He put up a lot of great records and I learned a lot from him. And it was great playing behind him,'' Myers said. "He's a great guy who taught me a lot and showed me a lot of things.''
Bailey didn't teach Myers simply by his actions, either. He would sit down with the 6-foot-2, 197-pounder and show him things on tape. It's hard to have a much better teacher than Bailey, who made a career of outwitting defensive backs as much as outplaying them.
For a short time it appeared that Myers' arrival as Bailey's heir apparent would come sooner than it did. In the first game of his redshirt freshman season last fall, Myers made the first catch of his career. It was a 3-yard reception for a touchdown. A week later, he caught a 6-yard pass against James Madison. Yes, they were both late in blowouts, but on a team with Bailey and Tavon Austin, it seemed as if Myers might be ready to begin ascending into the rotation.
It didn't happen. In the remaining 11 games Myers caught no more passes. He played mainly on special teams and didn't play at all in two games.
That first-game touchdown catch seemed like a distant memory by season's end because, well, it was.
"Sure, that was a great feeling. Scoring your first touchdown on your first reception? How much better can it get than that,'' Myers said. "But that was the first game of the season and I didn't get any more after that. It just showed me that I had to work even harder during the offseason to be able to do great things during the season.''
Before Myers begins thinking too hard about the records he's going to break, though, he first has to just break into the lineup. With nearly a dozen receivers fighting for spots in the rotation this spring, nothing is a given.
Of course, the change to a new wide receivers coach hasn't been much of an adjustment for Myers. In a wide receivers group populated primarily by first- and second-year players, Myers is a third-year sophomore who has been around so long that new receivers coach Lonnie Galloway recruited him to WVU before leaving to spend two years at Wake Forest.
But even familiarity with his new coach isn't a guarantee Myers will get his chance to play, much less break records. But for now, that's not his concern.
"I'm very driven right now,'' Myers said. "My mindset is to be great.
"I have an edge. I have a chip on my shoulder. I feel like I've been here a couple of years now and it's my time.''
BRIEFLY: Vernon Davis, the transfer cornerback from Miami, spent at least part of Tuesday's practice working with the wide receivers. Whether that's a position change or just an experiment isn't quite clear.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.