There was some big plays made both by the unit and by individuals during the 2017 season for the WVU defense. Two members of this years unit should hear their name called come April during the NFL Draft, those two being Seniors Al-Rasheed Benton and Kyzir White. We’ll look ahead at the potential starters on the defensive side of the ball and who replaces these 2 great Mountaineers going into the 2018.
The leader of the DAWGS, David Long, is back for his Junior season. This linebacker is special and has a nose for the football, before his career is done at WVU expect to see his name rewriting the record books. Long finished with 75 tackles on the season, while missing the first four games due to injury. Joining Long at linebacker for next season will be Dylan Tonkery and Brendan Ferns. Tonkery stepped in for the injured Long to start the season and contributed right away. Ferns is coming off a season cut short due to injury. When he was on the field he a knack for the football finishing with 10 tackles in 3 games.
Upfront the Mountaineer defensive line has a ton of experience coming back. Nose Tackle, Lamont McDougle is coming off a Freshman All-American season. This young DAWG got better each week and just made plays. The two men locking down the DE spots are Reese Donahue and Adam Shuler, these two combined for 77 tackles on the season. The one area this group will need to improve upon is the sack department, the trio combined for 6 on the season.
The back-end of the defense will see the safety spots being anchored by Draven Askew-Henry and Kenny Robinson. Henry is going into his senior season looking to get back to the form that made him an NFL prospect. Robinson’s freshman season saw the young man produce two Pick 6’s. The Corner Back and Bandit positions look to be manned by Hakeen Bailey, Keith Washington and Toyous Avery.
Coach Gibson has some talent coming back next season and looks to get back to the top of the heap with the DAWGS.