MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - What is arguably already the strongest position on West Virginia's football team is about to get even stronger.
Running back Charles Sims says he'll play his final year of college football for the Mountaineers, according to multiple reports out of Houston.
Although there was no immediate confirmation on WVU's end, Sims was on campus Thursday and Friday and apparently made his decision then.
"It feels real good to make this decision. It's the next step in my life,'' Sims said during an interview with a Houston television station, Fox 26. "[Now] I just want to hurry up and get back to what I do.''
Sims will arrive at WVU as a graduate transfer from the University of Houston. Because he graduated in May, he is immediately eligible to play for the Mountaineers.
Sims, one of the best multi-purpose backs in the country, announced his plans to transfer from Houston and play his final season elsewhere in late May. That was after he'd announced in January that he was passing up a chance to enter the NFL draft and would play his final season at Houston.
It was widely believed that Sims wanted to transfer to Texas Tech, but Houston officials had to approve his destination and excluded the Red Raiders. UH coach Tony Levine barred him from contacting any school on Houston's schedule, any school in the American Athletic Conference (the old Big East, of which UH is now a member) or any school in the state of Texas, which eliminated Texas Tech.
After those stipulations were made, Sims considered WVU and perhaps a couple of other schools, as well as submitting his name for the NFL's supplemental draft. He apparently chose West Virginia because of its offensive similarity to the Houston system in which he's played. It perhaps also did not hurt that WVU coach Dana Holgorsen was Houston's offensive coordinator when Sims was a freshman.
"I'm familiar with the offense and I just felt comfortable at West Virginia,'' Sims said. "I'm familiar with their schemes and what they have going.''
Sims is a 6-foot, 215-pounder who was a first-team All-Conference USA selection in 2011 and a second-team pick in 2011 despite missing three full games and parts of three others with injuries. He's never been a 1,000-yard rusher, but only because he's used almost as much as a receiver as he's handed the ball.
Sims played as a true freshman in 2009, redshirted in 2010, then played the last two years. He rushed for 2,370 yards and averaged 6.2 yards per carry, scoring 29 touchdowns. He also caught 158 passes (70 as a freshman when Holgorsen was the offensive coordinator) for 1,707 yards and eight touchdowns.
Sims will, of course, join an already deep group of running backs that includes 2011 rushing leader Dustin Garrison, 2012 leader Andrew Buie, junior college transfer Dreamius Smith and freshman Wendell Smallwood.
The Mountaineers already have one new face competing in the backfield. Quarterback Clint Trickett transferred from Florida State as a graduate student and has two years of eligibility remaining.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.