McCartney played eight games as a junior in 2012 but quit the team in November. West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said the senior wide receiver will be "considered a newcomer" during summer workouts with the team.
"Second chances are few and far between," Holgorsen told the Charleston Daily Mail. "This kid's got an opportunity to right the ship. Maybe he makes the best of it. Maybe he doesn't."
McCartney ranked third on the team with 49 receptions and 585 receiving yards in 2011, but the former high school All-American had only nine receptions for 112 yards before his late-season departure.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound wide receiver was a teammate of Geno Smith at Miramar (Fla.) High School, and it was reportedly contacts in Florida who reached out to Holgorsen with the idea of a return. McCartney will be eligible to regain his scholarship immediately, and his addition will not count toward the 2013 recruiting class.
With two years in Holgorsen's system, McCartney can bring experience to a thin wide receiver group in 2013. Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey were both drafted last month, leaving sophomore Jordan Thompson as the team's leading returning receiver -- with just 13 receptions for 85 yards last season.
West Virginia is also in the process of finding a replacement for Smith, the three-year starting quarterback. Backups Ford Childress and Paul Millard battled during spring practice for the starting job, but Holgorsen opted to keep the competition open through the summer and into fall camp. Florida State transfer quarterback Clint Trickett will join the mix as well, a move that may have played a role in Chavas Rawlins, an early enrollee from the 2013 recruiting class, deciding to transfer last week.