MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Not yet a year ago, Jake Spavital told me something I'd never heard before.
We were talking about football after a spring practice at West Virginia, hardly a shocking situation to be in with who was then the quarterbacks coach for the Mountaineers.
Spavital was, and is, a bright and innovative guy, so much so that he wound up being wooed all the way to the Southeastern Conference in January.
On that day, though, we talked about what might happen at Texas A&M. The Aggies were new to the SEC and getting to know their new coaching staff, folks Spavital knew well after working for Coach Kevin Sumlin and quarterbacks coach Kliff Kingsbury at Houston when Spavital was a graduate assistant.
The rest of us were still getting to know Dana Holgorsen's offense, the one shaped as much by Sumlin as Sumlin was shaped by Holgorsen, and I wondered aloud about similarities and differences in the ways the coaches might install and adjust what they do.
WVU, of course, had Geno Smith. Texas A&M had a promising prospect named with a big arm. His name was Jameill Showers and the word was he could be quite good.
Then Spavital said the words we won't soon forget: Johnny Manziel.
He spoke both with fondness and interest, suggesting Manziel was a wild card who could change the way Air Raid offenses attack defenses, but speculating how it might look with a mobile, running quarterback throwing the passes.
No one knew then what we know now. No one expected Manziel to literally run away with the Heisman Trophy. No one saw the Aggies hiring Spavital to further mentor Manziel.
And nobody knew much about Chavas Rawlins. He's WVU's commodity now and he committed to the Mountaineers a few weeks after Spavital first introduced Johnny Football to these ears. Rawlins enrolled in January and is one third of the way through his first spring football session with the Mountaineers. He might be the future, but no one knows.
True, he has a younger brother, a talented linebacker named Justice, who could serve WVU well in the recruiting class of 2014. Schools have arranged similar deals in the past.
But what if Chavas Rawlins can play? He's not ready now. Not mentally and not physically. He's been on campus fewer than three months and been in the playbook for an even shorter amount of time. His passes go nose down and are not yet particularly tight. In the limited drills open to the media, it's pretty clear his footwork needs improvement.
Still, suppose he's here for a reason, that he was recruited as a genuine prospect and not as bait for another - and by the way, Justice has not yet been offered a scholarship by the Mountaineers, surely a side effect of a serious knee injury from more than a year ago.