Shorts' Talent, Ability Major Promise For WVU

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - A rise in preseason performance at wide receiver gives Daikiel Shorts another chance to play his original position.

With the speedy development of some new receivers on the outside, junior wideout Daikiel Shorts has moved back inside to his original position. Shorts was recruited as an inside receiver, but with the departure of outside threats Kevin White and Mario Alford, was moved outside in the spring to help fill the void. But after head coach Dana Holgorsen released his latest depth chart, Shorts was moved back inside, with newcomers Ka’Raun White and Jovon Durante replaced Shorts outside.

Jordan Thompson and K.J. Myers will join Shorts inside. And a combination of White, Durante, and Shelton Gibson are expected to lead the charge outside - at least initially.

Shorts is listed as an inside receiver, but will play multiple roles. He’ll take most of his snaps inside, but can man more spots than the basic depth chart would present. Assistant head and wide receivers coach Lonnie Galloway said Shorts is a valuable red zone threat. He can catch balls in traffic and block, making him invaluable when room gets sparse. It won't be a surprise to see him play both positions, especially early on when the Mountaineers are looking at multiple combinations of players to see who performs best on game day.

“For us, if you’re going to play, you’re going to block,” said Galloway. And at 6-1, Shorts should have the size to hold tacklers off long enough for a Rushel Shell or Wendell Smallwood or Eli Wellman to get downfield.

Shorts has also shown solid production catching the ball. As a freshman, he snagged a team high 45 receptions, more than either Alford (24) and White (35). But Shorts’ sophomore season was overshadowed by the high output of that duo. That he can approach their productivity level seems without question. Shorts has a combination of Alford’s speed and White’s size. He can catch balls over defenders then speed past others. Shorts is expected to see as much playing time as any wideout early, and his potential production is going to depend on if he, like the rest of the receivers, can gain the inert understanding of the quarterback-receiver relationship.

“Getting on the same page with Skyler and the rest of the team,” is what Shorts said still needs to be worked on before the match-up with Georgia Southern. And the 6-1, 200-pounder has said a main goal is to sharpen that asset in the next week.

“Skyler knows where they like the ball, they know where Skyler likes to put the ball,” said Galloway on Shorts and Thompson’s connection with the quarterback. The coaching staff seems to trust Shorts being able to make plays from the inside.

Shorts has the potential for a breakout year because of his versatility, and that could be the boost the offense needs while the outside receivers attempt to emerge and settle into more prominent roles. Shorts, below, converses about that topic and more - including his own goals prior to the first game.

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