Hometown: Charleston, WV
Record: 28-21, Bowl Record: 0-3
John Pennington came to West Virginia as a walk-on during Coach Rich Rodriguez’s first season in Morgantown. Pennington worked hard his freshman and sophomore seasons to earn increased playing time his junior and senior seasons. While Pennington was not the most talented receiver, he was very inspirational to Mountaineer fans. He showed that it takes more than just talent to play football: it also takes heart and determination. Pennington would give his all on special teams and would capitalize on his opportunities as a wide receiver. Pennington finished his tenure at West Virginia with 164 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns.
Memorable Game: When you think of John Pennington, you think of one play: the diving touchdown grab against Pitt in the 2003 Backyard Brawl. West Virginia was in the midst of a surprising 2003 campaign that would feature a pair of upsets of ranked opponents. Games like the 2003 match-up against Pitt would only add to the mystique that comes with night games at Milan Puskar Stadium. The Mountaineers started the 2003 season with a 1-4 record including a narrow loss to 2nd ranked Miami. WVU would reel off 7 wins in a row to finish the season, including the game against Pitt. The Mountaineer offense had their way with Pitt’s defense as WVU would demolish Pitt by a score of 52-31. Pennington of course contributed a memorable touchdown grab to the win. A moment I recall seeing in-person my freshman year.
Competition: In terms of inspirational players, there was no competition at #86. In terms of statistics, there were no players on note (including Pennington). I could list the other players that wore #86, but I would be lying to you if I told you I had any clue who these other players are.
Teaser: The selection for #85 is one of the greatest tight ends in WVU history. This player was part of a memorable cast of Mountaineers. Even with tons of talent around him, this player shined, much like Melissa Rauch. She really stands out as a fan favorite as Bernadette Rostenkowski on The Big Bang Theory.