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2019 Position Preview: Special Teams




Kicker: Evan Staley

Staley is expected to continue his role as starting kicker and is a preseason All-Big 12 Conference First Team selection according to Lindy’s and Street & Smith’s. He earned his scholarship last spring entering his redshirt sophomore season after filling in for an injured Mike Molina the prior season. Last season, he was 16 of 20 on field goals and 59 of 60 on extra points. He kicked two 49 yard field goals last season, one of which was the longest field goal in Camping World Bowl history dating back to 1990. He has also totaled 51 touchbacks on kickoffs during his two seasons at WVU.

Punter: Evan Staley

Staley is also listed as the preseason starting punter for the Mountaineers. He is probably capable of handling kicks, kickoffs, and punts during the season, but that seems like a lot of wear and tear. I feel confident the coaches would like to see someone step into the punter role for this team.

Backup: Casey Legg 

Casey Legg is listed as the preseason backup at all three positions. He is a 6’4 redshirt freshman from Charleston, WV and saw game action last year against Baylor.

Long snapper Rex Sunahara (r-Sr)

Heading into his final season in Morgantown, Sunahara was placed on the Patrick Mannelly Award Watchlist, which is given out to the nations best long snapper. He appeared in 12 games last year and will likely handle all, if not most of the long snapping duties in 2019.

Backups: J.P. Hadley (r-Fr)

Hadley was regarded as one of the best long snappers in the country coming out of high school. Expect to see Hadley used sparingly in 2019, but won’t see much time until Sunahara graduates.

Kyle Poland (r-Jr)

A Morgantown native, Poland will battle with Hadley for the backup role. He did appear in the game vs Baylor last year, which gives him game experience that Hadley does not have.

Kick returner: WR Sam James/CB Keith Washington

The Mountaineers will be tasked with the job of replacing electric returner Marcus Simms from a year ago. One guy that certainly has the capability of doing so is redshirt freshman receiver Sam James. James has big time speed and can hit a hole and be gone just like that. Cornerback Keith Washington has great hands for a corner and could help be the security blanket if James has trouble fielding the ball.

Punt returner: RB Alec Sinkfield

Sinkfield is a guy who has an amazing burst of speed and will get his chance to showcase his talent on punt return in hopes of making a case for more touches out of the backfield.

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