Hometown: Berwick, PA
Record: 16-5-2, Bowl Record: 0-1
He may not have been one of the best quarterbacks in school history, but Jake Kelchner did power the Mountaineers to an undefeated regular season in 1993. Kelchner was a surprise pick up for Coach Don Nehlen’s staff. Kelchner had originally committed to Notre Dame out of high school. Unfortunately for Kelchner, Notre Dame also recruited Rick Mirer in 1990, leaving Kelchner as the back-up. Kelchner decided to find a school that had an immediate need at quarterback, ultimately finding a home amongst the hills. Kelchner first saw action in the 1992 season, with mixed results. Kelchner would complete 55.5% of his passes for 901 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. Kelchner and the rest of the Mountaineers squad would get their game together and dominate the Big East. Kelchner showed flashes of greatness in 1993 as he completed 63.2% of his passes for 1,688 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. Kelchner could really through the ball when needed, but the WVU teams of the early 1990s were heavily run oriented. For the system he ran, Kelchner was a star quarterback, although his statistics seem rather ordinary.
Memorable Game: Kelchner started the 1993 season off with a bang. After leading the Mountaineers to a blowout win over Eastern Michigan, he led the Mountaineers into a road test against Maryland. The Terrapins were out to avenge two straight losses to West Virginia. Maryland would come out swinging against the Mountaineers, piling up yards in a hurry. Kelchner and the Mountaineers passing game would match Maryland’s offensive outburst. Both teams offenses pummeled the opposing defenses, combining for more than 1,000 yards of offense. The Mountaineers would pull out a squeaker in one barn burner of a game, 42-37.
Competition: I’ll admit it now; I had a difficult time overcoming the urge to give the #17 to Kent Richardson. When I looked at the two players as objectively as possible, I began to lean towards Jake Kelchner. He was a major reason the Mountaineers were able to complete an undefeated 1993 season, one of only two in school history. Richardson, while being a solid cornerback, just couldn’t measure up in terms of notoriety to Jake Kelchner.
Teaser: So what position will be featured next in the countdown? A quarterback? Wide receiver? Kicker? The possibilities are endless. Hopefully you all have not soured on my random video clips, especially the ones featuring Disney movies. (Sorry, the video clip is really awful... just like the movie itself)