MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Freshman receiver Jordan Thompson seems ready to join Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey in West Virginia's starting lineup. He's now getting preseason accolades to match his elders.
Bruce Feldman, of CBSSports.com, ranked Thompson sixth on a list of the top best freshmen for fantasy football purposes during the 2012 season.
"I like Bruce, but I'm going to have to disagree with him on that one," said offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, who said he didn't know about the list even though Feldman quoted Dawson in the passage about Thompson. "How can you tell if a kid's sixth-best when he's never played a snap? That's tough.
"To take it to another level, how is he the sixth-best kid when he wasn't highly recruited? There are a lot of guys more highly recruited who you could probably put above him."
Thompson, from Katy, Texas, didn't have a Division I scholarship offer before WVU's arrived, but is nevertheless the presumed starter at the inside H position. Austin played that spot last season and set a school record with 101 receptions. The 5 foot, 7 inch Thompson caught 66 passes for 1,117 yards and 17 touchdowns as a high school senior.
"Now, if he starts to do it in a game and produces in the game and proves that, then at the end of the year you can say he was one of the better guys," Dawson said.
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REDSHIRT FRESHMAN cornerback Terrell Chestnut, who missed last season with a shoulder injury that required surgery, has figured a few things out the past few days. He began working out Tuesday as the team's No. 1 nickel back.
That position is separate from cornerback and combines the responsibilities of different positions in the defensive backfield.
"He plays inside and you can hide him a little more," cornerbacks coach Daron Roberts said. "He's isolated on the outside, so vertical routes on the outside are all yours."
The 6-foot, 180-pound Chestnut is one of only two four-star cornerbacks the Mountaineers have signed in the past 10 years - the other is Vernard Roberts, who was also a part of the 2011 class and never played for the Mountaineers.
Chestnut is bigger than the rest of his group, which may suite him well at nickel back and even deeper in the defensive backfield in the future.
"He's a heavier guy who played safety in high school and may end up being a safety at some point here," Roberts said. "We'll see how he can contribute, but I think he's taken on nickel really well."
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WVU SENIOR Will Clarke's ability to lead by example as never been questioned. What had observers curious was how the soft-spoken Clarke would rally his teammates with words.