Hometown: Pearland, TX
Record: 10-3, Bowl Record: 1-0 including a BCS win
Dustin Garrison came to Morgantown this past season out of Pearland, TX. He was not given many scholarship offers although he had led his team to the Texas 5A State Championship. Coach Dana Holgorsen capitalized on other schools’ poor scouting and snatched up the shifty back. Garrison started out the season buried on the depth chart behind Andrew Buie, Vernard Roberts, and Shawne Alston. He would be given few opportunities early in the year, but as the Mountaineer running attack failed to materialize, he would be given more chances. He was given 10 carries in the loss to LSU, taking one in for a score. That set him up with the opportunity to start for the Bowling Green game, in which he turned in an outstanding 291 yard performance. From that point on, Garrison would be used as the featured running back. Unfortunately, Garrison tore a knee ligament in the Orange Bowl practices, holding him out of the game against Clemson (turns out he wasn’t needed anyway). Garrison ended his freshman campaign with 746 yards rushing, 201 yards receiving, and 6 touchdowns. With his knee back to full strength, expectations for a break-out season are high. I’m not going to claim that I expect a 1,200 yards season, but it is certainly reasonable to expect that he could eclipse 1,000 yards this coming season.
Memorable Game: Out of principal, I’m disappointed to have to repeat a memorable game, but since Garrison’s performance in this game was overwhelmingly his best performance of the past season, I could not overlook it. Garrsion was sparsely used early in the season, but was given an opportunity to see more carries in a rain-drenched match-up versus an inferior opponent: Bowling Green. For the season, Garrison only had three carries coming into the game against Bowling Green, but would prove worthy of the carries he received (32), toting the ball for 291 yards and two touchdowns. Garrison proved to the country that the Mountaineers were capable of successfully running the football. With Garrison running all over the Falcons, Geno Smith had an easier time throwing the ball. The combination dismantled the Falcons defense as WVU ran up the score in a 55-10 blowout.
Competition: Garrison gets this spot on the countdown for his potential. He put together an impressive freshman season, considering he really didn’t get to play the first half of the season. Others of note at this spot would be Rico Tyler and Trippe Hale. Looking at the statistics and name recognition of the other candidates, I think Garrison will easily best the other candidates by the time he is threw in Morgantown.
Teaser: Tomorrow, we honor WVU’s all-time leader in interceptions. This player was a big defensive back (6’3”) and really helped build a solid defense in the early 1980s for the Mountaineers. He is a native West Virginian, hailing from a little place called Peterstown. I wonder if that is anywhere near Petoria?