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Houston transfer Charles Sims to start for West Virginia

AP Photo / Dave Einsel
Some analysts consider Charles Sims to be the best senior running back in college football.

Former Houston running back Charles Sims came to West Virginia "to play in the Big 12 to be able to increase his draft stock," Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen said in July at Big 12 media days.

The fifth-year senior seems to be well on his way to meeting those aspirations.

Sims was officially named the starter Sunday evening for WVU's opener against William & Mary. In three seasons with the Cougars, Sims rushed for 1,672 yards and 20 touchdowns and caught 88 passes for 948 yards and seven touchdowns. NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt ranks Sims as the top senior running back and No. 12 overall senior entering the 2013 college football season.

It isn't necessarily a surprise that Sims -- the Conference USA Freshman of the Year in 2009 and first-team All-Conference USA selection in 2011 -- won the job over Andrew Buie, who started nine games and had a team-high 851 rushing yards last season. Sims has the versatility valued in Holgorsen's spread offense as well as three inches and nearly 25 pounds on Buie, who is listed at 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds.

But Buie didn't even make the two-deep. He was pushed aside by true freshman Wendell Smallwood among others. Already without the core of its explosive offensive the last two seasons of quarterback Geno Smith and wide receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, the demotion of Buie represents one more break from WVU's disappointing collapse in 2012.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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