Five questions with C.J. Carroll

Editor’s note: Throughout fall camp we’ll periodically catch up with student-athletes and coaches for five questions.

Q: What was it like playing on the scout team and really proving yourself your first couple years, then earning a scholarship last fall?

CARROLL: “When I first got here, I was a little undersized and probably wasn’t going to crack the lineup. Playing on the scout team, lifting weights and stuff really got me stronger and bigger and that was under Coach [Frank] Beamer so it was a little different. I showed what I could do and then new coaches came in and I had to redo the whole system with being a walk-on. Coach [Justin] Fuente and Coach [Holmon] Wiggins were super open to playing walk-ons, best player is going to play. So I was able to show them what I do. I got to play this year, was productive and eventually they rewarded me with a scholarship.”

Q: When do you think it all came together with your knowledge of the playbook and seeing playing time on the field?

CARROLL: “Probably in the spring when the new coaches got there. They kind of threw a bunch of stuff at us as far as plays, but I was able to get in the playbook, it wasn’t too complicated because they made it easy for us. I was able to grasp it and just run with it. Once you know the plays and know what you are doing, it makes playing a lot easier. It is hard when you are out there and halfway knowing what you are doing. So, when you know what you are doing, it’s fun.”

Q: You're a jack of all trades with nine rushes, 18 catches and 11 punt returns, how did you develop that versatility over time?

CARROLL: “I think being a smaller guy you kind of have to do whatever the coaches ask you to do. I think my best ability is my quickness and I can use that running the ball, catching the ball and obviously on punt returns. So doing what the coaches ask you to do and they’ll figure out the right spots for you. Once you do one of them, the rest of them fall into place.”

Q: You had the opportunity to line up with three All-ACC receivers last fall, what was your takeaway of how they each handled their craft?

CARROLL: “It’s actually funny because they are all very different players. Isaiah [Ford] was more of a go up and get it, crafty, does everything right guy. Bucky [Hodges] was a big body, get in people’s way, he was bigger than everybody else. Then Cam [Phillips] is super smart, always watching film. I kind of just take pieces from each and every one of them and insert that into my game. I think I learned a lot from them last year, so hopefully that will translate to this year with me being more successful.”

Q: With two of those three departing for the NFL, how will you fill those shoes in the passing attack in 2017?

CARROLL: “We lost a lot of production and that’s what everyone wants to talk about, how Isaiah [Ford] and Bucky [Hodges] are gone and who is going to be the next receiver to step up. Myself and Cam [Phillips] and a bunch of the young guys are stepping up. It’s exciting, exciting to show West Virginia what we’ve been working for all spring and summer. Some of these young guys are ready to play and it’s going to be fun to watch them go out and do their thing.”

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