The mystery surrounding the WVU Mountaineer football team this offseason has finally been solved. Head coach Neal Brown named Oklahoma transfer quarterback Austin Kendall the starting quarterback for the upcoming year.
Kendall, who’s entering his junior year, came to Morgantown this season after not getting any playing time while in Norman. The highly touted high-school recruit was forced to sit behind former Heisman Trophy winners and No. 1 overall picks in the NFL draft in both Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray.
Once Jalen Hurts decided to transfer to OU from Alabama, Kendall knew his chance would happen elsewhere. He joined the Mountaineers last winter with hopes that he could finally lead his own team in the Big 12.
That opportunity is here, as the 6’ 2” QB from North Carolina will lead WVU in 2019. Kendall won the quarterback competition, but it wasn’t easy. Brown would’ve named his starter weeks ago had it been clear.
Also competing for the job included:
- Jack Allison
- Trey Lowe
- Jarret Doege
Kendall won the position 19 days after WVU fall camp began.
Now that the team has established a starter for its most important position, the focus can adjust to the start of the regular season. WVU begins the year in less than 10 days when it opens at home against James Madison.
WV sportsbooks have seen a solid jump in betting action as the 2019 college football season approaches. The overall sports betting handle increased over the last few weeks thanks to plenty of futures wagers on WVU’s season. A lot of gamblers are also getting in their NFL bets as well.
Let’s take a look at how Kendall won the starting job and what options there are when looking to bet on the Mountaineers’ 2019 season.
WVU football found its quarterback
In sports, things rarely come easily. Just talk to Kendall, who will finally be the leader of a college football program after years of failure.
Obviously, Kendall has all of the talent necessary to be a legitimate player in college football’s highest division, but having the right opportunity is completely different.
Both Kendall and coach Neal Brown are hoping the quarterback’s past misfortunes help build a promising present and future for WVU football.
The coach announced on Tuesday that Kendall had won the starting position over a few other noteworthy teammates. Even though Kendall entered the spring and summer as the favorite to get the job, it was far from a sure thing just a week ago.
According to the WV MetroNews, Brown said:
“It was clear after Friday night’s scrimmage that he has earned it.”
Although some felt that it was a bad sign that it took Kendall this long to win the competition, perhaps it was more about the quality of depth on the roster. Brown continued:
“Austin won the job. I’m not sure anyone lost it. That doesn’t change the way I feel about the other guys.”
Quarterbacks Allison and Lowe were both right there with Kendall until the end. It’s clear they’ have skills and could help this team at some point in the future.
The 2019 WVU football season
The now belongs to Kendall, however.
He will enter the 2019 college football season with some fairly large shoes to fill. Even though WVU is expected to take a step back this year, the spectacular play of quarterback Will Grier is still fresh in the fans’ minds.
With Grier off to the NFL, coach Brown knew he needed to find someone suitable to take his place. Expectations might be slightly lowered in Morgantown, but the WVU faithful will never accept a losing product.
Outside of Kendall’s performance on the field, he has earned the coaches’ praise off of it. Brown said:
“The thing he’s done as well as could be imagined is earning the respect of his team. He’s done a good job of interacting.”
Being a leader and having a valued voice in the locker room are not traits that every starting quarterback in college football has. Kendall has been able to grow with this process along with his new coach and team.
Brown explained how Kendall impressed him:
“He’s been calm and collected. He’s felt himself getting more comfortable and playing at a higher level. You can coach him hard and he doesn’t take it personal. He’s gone about entering a difficult situation and really impressing his teammates.”
Kendall will begin his WVU career on Aug. 31 when the Mountaineers host the Dukes from JMU.
Betting on WVU football
WV residents have been waiting for the return of collegiate football for a long time. The action at WV sportsbooks has started to heat up and shouldn’t slow down until the winter.
Although there are still no online sports betting apps, bettors are crossing their fingers that one releases in time for football season. Recent reporting indicates FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook are poised to bring back online sports betting in West Virginia soon, maybe as early as next week just ahead of WVU’s opening game.
Whether or not a mobile app hits the market remains to be seen, but there will definitely be three active land-based sportsbooks available. These include:
If you’re looking to bet on the Mountaineers in their Week 1 matchup, you may want to act fast. The opening line has already moved more than a full point in favor of WVU.
According to DraftKings in New Jersey, the Mountaineers have the following odds for the 2019 season:
- WVU -7 (-110)
- Moneyline: -295
- JMU +7 (-110)
- Moneyline: +230
Big 12 Champion
- WVU +4000
- Over 5 (+108)
- Under 5 (-130)