Graham Harrell has been at West Virginia for just five months, but his addition is already paying dividends before calling a single play.
The new Mountaineer offensive coordinator joined Neal Brown’s staff in January from USC with great fanfare. A Big 12 legend in his own right, Harrell knows what it takes to succeed in the league — explosive offense.
So far, his quarterbacks seem to enjoy their new play-caller. One of the biggest challenges in that position group is to help freshman Nicco Marchiol adjust to college football.
Having just retired from the game in 2012, Harrell has made that process much easier, according to Marchiol.
“Younger coaches like Graham, they kind of relate more to the players because they’re kind of fresh, in a sense out of playing,” Marchiol said. “They kind of understand more what you’re thinking as a quarterback in the pocket.”
Marchiol said that his main focus has been getting better day by day, building his strength and acclimating himself to the speed of the college game.
“He has helped me really understand more of the mental side of the game and coming into West Virginia, I had knowledge of the mental aspect of the game, but…the things I’ve been learning here, I’m a sponge,” he said.
While Harrell did reportedly try to bring Marchiol to USC, he is already bringing in talent to Morgantown. In April, JT Daniels committed to join the Mountaineers from Georgia and cited his previous rapport with Harrell as a “big part” of his decision.
That rapport was built before Daniels played with the national champion Bulldogs. He originally joined USC as a five-star prospect out of California and played under Harrell during his sophomore season.
Although Daniels played just one game before sitting most of the season out with an injury, Harrell’s offense second in the Pac-12 with 454 yards per game — an increase of 19 percent from the previous season.
When Daniels opened his recruitment back up in January, Harrell came calling, this time for the Old Gold and Blue. He even met Daniels at the quarterback’s home in a major change from his first transfer in 2020.
“I know him, I trust him, I think he’s a great coach,” Daniels said. “I think he’s a great schemer, I think he’s really underrated as a schemer. I love the offense and I love what he does with it.”