WHAT TO LIKE
Bush has the multi-dimensional skills that fit the idea of West Virginia's spread passing attack -- at least the one that was in play during the first couple of seasons of the Dana Holgorsen era. Tevin Bush has long listed Tavon Austin as his idol and role model for play on the field, and he resembles the former Mountaineer and current NFL star in both build and style of game. Bush has played both running back and wide receiver for Landry-Walker High School, and would appear to be capable of sliding into a similar role for WVU.
"Watching him, I knew that there was something that he did that I could do," Bush told NOLA.when describing the way he latched on to Austin. "I just crafted myself and worked on everything that he does and try to perfect it just as he did."
Of course, expecting him to match Austin's achievements is totally unfair, and that's the danger of any such comparison. However, in watching his game, the similarity is clear. He's a quick stop and start runner who makes excellent breaks and cuts, but the thing that really impresses is his determination to get upfield as quickly as possible after making a move. Some shifty players get caught up in making too many moves and fail to press for more yardage, but that's not a problem with Bush. He is decisive with the ball, and when he does get north and south he explodes, and typically outruns most defenders.
Bush's ability to catch the ball is also an important factor. most of his highlights show slot screens and other short passes, although he does have the straightline speed to get downfield. He showed off excellent hands on one diving catch for a deep ball. He's also familiar with the may ways a player of his abilities can get the ball in a spread offense. From zone reads, to option tosses to jet sweeps to screens, he handles them all smootly.
Bush's size is the obvious factor that has kept some recruiters cautious. Of course, he's not built to be a power back in an I-formation ground game or an outside receiver that runs posts and deep routes all day, so there are some schools that would not be interested. However, for any team looking for a dynamic runner that can make people miss, he would seem to be a logical recruiting target. Worries about wear and tear are also an item that factors in, but that's something that can't truly be determined until he begins taking college hits.
The transition from high school to college is especially crucial for players such as Bush. Can he continue to make players miss, avoid big hits and gain yardage? This is by no means a given -- witness recent WVU transfer Jacky Marcellus, who had similar talents and abilities in high school, but was never able to transfer those to the Big 12. Of course, just as comparisons to Austin don't mean Bush will follow his achievements, neither do any with Marcellus. It's just to point out that players who make their living outrunning or juking others to the ground one one level have a different challenge when they move on to Division I.
Is Bush good enough to help spin WVU's offense back in the direction of the more open and quick-firing passing attack that was sparked by Austin, Geno Smith and Stedman Bailey? Fortunately, the answer to that doesn't have to be 100% yes. Holgorsen has shown the ability to adapt his attack to the strengths of the players on the team, moving from that aerial show to more running over the past couple of years. He's not married to any one approach, which should allow Bush to show his strengths. If they are good enough, the framework of the offense is there for him to thrive.
Paired with a big outside receiver who is a downfield threat, and a strongly-built runner who can thrive in traffic, Bush could certainly be one of the building blocks of future Mountaineer attacks. Certainly, he will get a ton of attention in the weight room to help armor his frame, but he's already shown the ability to thrive against players bigger than he.