MORGANTOWN — A concern for WVU’s football team all preseason camp has been its receiving corps.
Specifically, who will spell its starters?
However, if one of those starters makes a jump — literally and figuratively — like his brother a few years ago, no one will remember such concerns.
That receiver, of course, is Ka’Raun White.
Last season, White was the No. 1 target of Skyler Howard in the preseason camp. And, hey, why not? White provided a large frame at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds. He got open.
Yet during the season, both Shelton Gibson and Daikiel Shorts averaged more yardage per game. White had 48 catches for 583 yards, averaging 12.1 yards per catch and 53 yards per game.
Good, but not great.
It was reminiscent of Kevin White, Ka’Raun’s brother, who had 35 catches for 507 yards for WVU in 2013 (46.1 per game) before jumping to 109 catches for 1,447 yards in 2014 (111.3 per game). The senior season rocketed Kevin White to first-round NFL draft status.
Might we see that in 2017 from Ka’Raun?
“You never know,” said Mountaineer offensive coordinator Jake Spavital. “You don’t want to put that pressure on him to be like that, but Ka’Raun is turning into his own man. He’s making a name for himself.”
Ka’Raun White, understand, is coming back from a broken bone in his right leg, suffered in last season’s Iowa State game.
“He’s a driven kid,” Spavital said. “He went through those injuries and I haven’t seen a guy rehab like that. He’s constantly in the facility. When I met him he was in a boot, but catching tennis balls and [using the] jugs machine. He was doing upper body [work]. He’s a motivated kid. You root for that.”
Maybe, just maybe, he was following a family recipe. Ka’Raun White saw his brother’s workout regimen between his junior and senior season.
“His offseason workouts were pretty intense,” Ka’Raun said of Kevin. “During the [next] season he was making plays and was that guy. I didn’t get to see much because our [Lackawanna College] games were on Saturdays too, but I watched reruns and highlights. He was just on a different level, a mission.”
Will history repeat itself?
“I sure hope so,” Ka’Raun White said.
The work, he said, has certainly been put in.
“I’ve worked on over-the-shoulder balls, jump balls,” said the current Mountaineer. “If the quarterback throws it high, high-point it. Don’t wait for the ball. Little things like that.
“I can’t get lazy. Attack the ball at all times. I had a little problem with that last season. I used to wait for the ball and a few turnovers happened because of it. I’ve been working on it. My coach [Tyron Carrier] has been on me. He wants me to attack the ball and be aggressive.”
Much like Kevin White, now with the Chicago Bears, who serves as a mentor.
“Kevin can probably jump higher, but it’s pretty close,” said Ka’Raun White. “He’s a tad bit taller. We all high-point the ball pretty well though. We’re aggressive with our hands. We feed off each other. I tailor my game off his. I watch film and see what he does. We just help each other out.”
Now, Ka’Raun White is trying to help buoy WVU’s receiving corps to make sure quarterback Will Grier’s transfer from Florida pays off.
“I think we’re looking pretty good,” Ka’Raun White said. “We’re stacked at every position. The ones and twos are pretty good. The threes are pretty good. I feel we’ll be all right.”
He said to keep an eye on freshman Reggie Roberson, a 6-foot wideout from Texas.
“Reggie is pretty good,” White said. “He’s pretty good for a freshman. He’s above an ordinary freshman receiver. He’s got some good speed.”
Ka’Raun White, by the way, said Mountaineer fans shouldn’t concern themselves with his injury of last season.
“No worries in that area,” he said. “I’m completely good now.”
Which just might be very good for WVU fans.