MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Mr. Football appears to be Mr. History.
Brandon Barrett, a two-time Kennedy Award winner as West Virginia's finest scholastic football player, has been removed from the Mountaineers' depth chart, where coaches were counting upon him to be one of the team's top four receivers this season after a long run of off-field problems.
"I'm not optimistic at all that Brandon Barrett will be in a Mountaineers uniform," coach Rich Rodriguez said yesterday of a receiver who was the MVP of the spring game, with five catches for 105 yards, and a starter in the Sugar Bowl. "Brandon, he started out summer school well. He's really fallen off. You can't go run a guy in summer for missing class [because rules prohibit coaching intervention]. He's a walk-on, so you can't [threaten] to take a scholarship away. It's been unfortunate."
Barrett was academically ineligible as a freshman in 2004.
Then in February 2005, he was arrested in his hometown for driving under the influence and marijuana possession, later pleading no contest to the DUI and getting sentenced to 24 hours in jail plus a $100 fine.
He worked his way back to resume playing with the team in the eighth game last season.
In Barrett's absence, the Big East-favored Mountaineers would look to such players as Blackhawk High School receiver Jeremy Bruce, oft-injured receiver Rayshawn Bolden and tailback/slotback Jason Colson, among others, to provide depth at a position that returns starters Brandon Myles, Darius Reynaud and Dorrell Jalloh.
Another player with his Mountaineers' future in question is former starting quarterback Adam Bednarik, who had offseason arm surgery that prohibits him from throwing a football until November, but might prove to be career ending.
"We're hoping he can come back," Rodriguez said of Bednarik, who compiled a 6-1 record as a starter last season before his shoulder was injured against Louisville and he gave way to Pat White. "But it's still iffy whether he can come back."
Bednarik continues to work out with the team and, Rodriguez said, will be a help in tutoring the two leading candidates for the job as White's backup, redshirt freshman Nate Sowers and Jarrett Brown.
In other Mountaineers news:
Linebacker Mortty Ivy of Gateway is 85 percent healthy after an ACL injury in the spring and could be cleared to rejoin the team when fall drills begin Aug. 5.
Bolden and tight end Brad Palmer, both of whom missed spring drills with leg injuries, are set to start practice next weekend.
Rodriguez said the academic eligibility of "three to four" undisclosed players remains up in the air, along with some incoming freshmen who have yet to be cleared by the NCAA, though he expects few surprises or problems.
Chuck Finder can be reached at email@example.com or 412-263-1724.