BGN Awards: Surprise Athletes of the Year

This summer, the staff at is looking back at West Virginia's 2014-15 athletic season and choosing the best of the best. In our eighth of 14 installments over the next few weeks, we are talking about this year’s Surprise Athlete of the Year.

Every year a player has an excellent and exciting season in which, for one reason or another, they take everyone by surprise and exceed expectations. Of course, this can be for a number of reasons. They might be bouncing back from an injury, they could be freshmen or another newcomer to the program or they could be getting back on track after a bad (or below average) season the year before.

This year there were a handful of potential nominees who could potentially step up and take this piece of acknowledgment from our staff.

Kevin Kinder: Zeke Moisey

There are so many ways to go with this. Freshman who stepped to the fore? Veteran who raised the level of his game? After a ton of back and forth, and several attempts to write this, wrestler Zeke Moisey gets the narrowest of wins over baseball's Kyle Davis and football's Kevin White. Not many foresaw White's rise to the elite level of wide receivers, and Davis was a revelation as a freshman hitter, but Mosiey's run to the NCAA championship match was the biggest eye opener of all.

Michael Carvelli: Kevin White

When he first got here, a lot of people expected Kevin White to come in and dominate from day one. But it took the junior college receiver a year to really get into the flow of things in West Virginia’s system, and he struggled as a junior which led to lower expectations heading into his senior campaign. But what WVU fans saw in 2014 was much of what they expected when he first stepped on campus, as he dominated opponents and led West Virginia’s offense to a much better season before becoming a top-10 pick in the NFL draft.

Matt Keller: Zeke Moisey

The promise and potential of a few other athletes could be seen, even somewhat that of Kevin White, who always had the size and body to make high level plays. But Moisey's solid regular season performance combined with his run to the NCAA finals as an unseeded freshman shocked the wrestling landscape and served notice that WVU and Sammy Henson were on the rise.

C.J. Harvey: Kevin White

White only had 35 receptions in 2013. He almost tripled his production with 109 total receptions in 2014. He went from a bust, to first-round draft pick in just one year. Nobody knew he would manufacture stats like he did.

Greg Hunter: Kevin White

I’ll admit I did not foresee the explosion on to the national scene by the Mountaineer senior receiver. I thought with a year’s experience in the system, he would be better in 2014 than he was in 2013, but didn’t expect the huge leap. He went from an average receiver to one of the best in college football. In all my years of covering WVU, I never saw any athlete make such a jump in performance in a one-year span.

Tony Dobies: Nick Kwiatkoski

That might be a surprise, but when he came to campus at first, he was a non-factor in my mind – a safety that didn’t fit the bill. Now, he’s a defensive leader and a fan favorite. He’s come a long way.

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