HIGH HOPES

MORGANTOWN- With a year under his belt, Daikiel Shorts is looking to put up even bigger receiving numbers for West Virginia this season.,

Shorts tied for the team lead in receptions as a freshman, grabbing 45 for 495 yards and two touchdowns. His best effort came in a win at TCU, as he collected six catches for a career-high 98 yards.

“Experience has been the biggest difference,” Shorts said of this year’s preseason camp. “Everyone knows the plays and instead of overthinking it, we can go out there and have fun.”

Through the first week of drills, the New Jersey native has been impressed by the play of redshirt senior quarterback Clint Trickett, who was dubbed the starter by head coach Dana Holgorsen over the summer.

“His arm has gotten a lot better,” Shorts said. “His overall game is better. If he sees something wrong, he’ll redo the play and I like that. He’s just made it a lot better atmosphere this camp.”

Playing at the inside slot receiver position, Shorts had five or more catches in six games in 2013. The Mountaineers will rely on seniors Kevin White and Mario Alford at the outside receiver spots, while Wendell Smallwood, Andrew Buie and Jordan Thompson are fighting for the other inside spot.

“Wendell and Buie are doing a pretty good job, but then again, I can’t really tell yet,” Shorts said. “Being a slot veteran, the hardest thing about the position is that you have to get back into position after a play. Getting behind the linebackers and facing the safeties is hard, too.”

Alford started the first eight games of 2013 at the slot spot, before playing the final four on the outside. Shelton Gibson, a talented redshirt freshman, is also looking for time outside.

“For him right now it’s learning what to do and getting his legs back,” receivers coach Lonnie Galloway said of Gibson. “You can see that he’s a great athlete. Now he just has to figure it all out.”