MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Freshman wideout Kaden Prather entered Saturday’s contest against Kansas State with just three catches in his first season with West Virginia.
Two of those catches came in the blowout win over Long Island in the second week of the season, and his third catch of the year went for 13 yards in WVU’s upset victory over Iowa State.
Saturday, he more than doubled his production this season, and caught the eye of his head coach.
“He’s going to be a player,” Neal Brown said of Prather after the game.
The freshman wide receiver hauled in four catches for 60 yards against the Wildcats.
Prather’s first big play on Saturday wasn’t in the passing game, but recovering a fumble on a third down run by Leddie Brown that moved the chains. However, it would’ve went as another turnover if not for Prather’s quick reflexes.
Prather was rewarded for diving on the loose ball on the very next play, as Jarret Doege found him for a 16 yard strike to the Kansas State 24. Later in that drive, Doege once again found Prather, this time to convert on 4th & 6. The Mountaineers scored a few plays later.
“(Prather’s) gotten better, and he made some big plays today. One versus man coverage on third down. He’s a kid that I got a lot of belief in,” Brown said. “I’m happy with how he’s maturing.”
Prather’s first reception on the following Mountaineer possession also moved the sticks.
His longest catch of the day came later that drive, as he beat man coverage along the K-State sideline, caught the pass near the KSU 20 yard-line, and bounced his way off would-be tacklers all the way down to the six-yard line. That catch set up a touchdown that brought WVU to within seven points near the start of the fourth quarter.
The comeback attempt ultimately fell short, but Prather’s best game to date of his short collegiate career was instrumental in WVU mounting that comeback.
All for of Prather’s receptions went for first downs on Saturday, something that was only matched by Bryce Ford-Wheaton, in a performance that could make him an important target over the final two weeks of this season.