MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU running back CJ Donaldson was on the field for the team’s first practice of the spring, according to offensive coordinator Chad Scott.
Earlier this week, head coach Neal Brown said Donaldson would participate in spring drills in a limited capacity as he continues his journey back from a season-ending injury. The tight end-turned-running back missed the final four games of WVU’s 2022 season after sustaining an injury that required surgery during the game against TCU.
But Tuesday, Scott noted that Donaldson “felt good” and did participate in drills as the team held its first of 15 spring practice sessions.
“He’s a tough kid. He wants to play through it, but we gotta be smart with him, obviously,” Scott said. “But today, he felt good, so there were no limitations on him at all today.”
Scott said the running back won’t participate in drills that involve “true contact” as he continues to work back to full strength.
West Virginia’s new offensive coordinator indicated that Donaldson might get some reps as a receiver this spring as the coaching staff attempts to evaluate its deep group of running backs.
“He’s still continuing just to learn the position,” Scott said. “We’d love to get to a point where, obviously, after this spring ball, not necessarily get him banged up as much, and utilize him in the pass game a lot more in each situation.”
Donaldson enjoyed a breakout freshman season in 2022 and was arguably the biggest surprise on the team. The Miami native rushed for 526 yards in seven appearances. He also led the roster in rushing yards per game, averaging 75.1.
WVU returns each of its top six rushers from last season. Two of those players — junior Garrett Greene and redshirt freshman Nicco Marchiol — are quarterbacks.
Tony Mathis, who is entering his redshirt junior season, led the team in rushing attempts (135) and rushing yards (562) last fall.