MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Charles Sims has spoken to the media just once since transferring from the University of Houston to West Virginia in June. It was a little more than 11 minutes of Sims politely answering basic questions and strongly suggesting he's not one for the spotlight off the field.
"I'm just trying to enjoy myself," Sims said, the envelope pushed about as far as he was willing to push it.
He can't avoid the attention on the field and the Mountaineers don't want him to during his only season on campus.
The Conference USA Freshman of the Year with the Cougars in 2009, first-team all-conference in 2011 and second-team all-conference last season, Sims comes to WVU with 4,077 yards of offense and 37 touchdowns. He has averaged 7.7 yards per touch and scored once every 14 touches in his career.
Sims' debut in Saturday's season opener at home against William & Mary (noon kickoff) is, quite simply, the most anticipated at WVU since the similarly introverted Noel Devine's in 2007. Those who have seen Sims in action testify his act is not one to miss.
Running backs coach JaJuan Seider held the same job at Marshall the previous three years, which included a 44-41 win against Houston last season and a 63-28 loss in 2011. The 35-point Cougars win was Seider's first and most memorable look at Sims.
When his running backs came off the field, it was the coach who rushed through his critiques.
"You hurried up and got through talking to your players so you can go and watch them play, including him," Seider said.
Still surging from the 2009 season spent with WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen as its offensive coordinator, Houston finished the 2011 season ranked No. 1 nationally in scoring offense and total offense. Sims was a big reason why and he did his part early that day against Marshall.
The then-sophomore carried six times for 73 yards and a touchdown in the first half. He finished with 75 yards rushing and 40 yards on two receptions.
"In the offseason I always study guys to continue to learn and some of what I watched was Houston, so I watched him again and again," Seider said. "He's good. He's special."
Holgorsen was instrumental in recruiting Sims from the Cougars' backyard in 2009, a relationship that helped lead Sims to WVU years later. Holgorsen put Sims to work in 2009, when the first-year player caught 70 passes - which was only the fourth-highest total on the team - for 759 yards. He ran 132 times - second on the team - for a team-high 698 yards.
Sims was the only player in the country with 600 yards rushing and receiving that season.