CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- On the surface, it may seem that stepping into the George Washington backfield would be some pretty tough cleats to fill this year.
After all, the tandem of graduated running back Ryan Switzer and quarterback Trevor Bell produced one of the most successful runs in school history, including an appearance in the 2011 state championship game, not to mention Switzer's eye-popping stats and two Kennedy Awards.
But maybe the best men for the job will end up being two well-traveled seniors who are entering the program for the first year.
Both quarterback Jon Alexander - who previously played at South Charleston and Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia - and running back/strong safety Draven Riffe - previously at Scott and Van - are at third school in the last three years with one last chance at making a run at a state championship.
They're used to being the new kids on the block, so adjusting to life as Patriots hasn't been much of an issue so far as the team held its first practice with pads on Friday evening.
"Coming in here as a new kid, it really wasn't much of a problem, I was a new kid at Hargrave," Alexander said. "I fit right in. Luckily I know the team, I played against them for so long. They've accepted me and it's pretty good."
"I like it a lot, I get along with everybody great," Riffe said. "It's really been a great experience and a great opportunity for me. I can adapt well and I can learn quickly."
While both have bounced around a bit, they have each had great success on the field in West Virginia.
In 2011, Riffe was a Class AA second-team all-state selection and Alexander earned honorable mention in the Mountain State Athletic Conference.
Alexander threw for 1,067 yards with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in leading South Charleston to a 5-5 mark. He also played five games with the Black Eagles before transferring last year, throwing for an additional 1,002 yards with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Riffe had an outstanding year for Scott in 2011, rushing for a team-best 1,323 yards and 17 touchdowns on 197 carries before transferring to at Van last year. He was injured before the season started and missed the entire year.
GW coach Steve Edwards Jr. is on the receiving end of an influx of senior talent this year.
"Two great kids," Edwards said. "I was happy that they were able to participate in the summer with us. That really helped with the three-week period. Our kids are good about accepting kids that want to win and want to be better and want to get challenged. Our guys don't have any problems with that, they're all working to win.