Spring football has officially came to an end in Morgantown, but the “real season” has already begun for redshirt junior linebacker David Long Jr. Long is recovering from a shoulder injury which he had repaired following the bowl game loss to Utah in late December and is currently the only returning starting linebacker that is “healthy”, to some standard. Fellow linebackers Quondarius Qualls and Brendan Ferns both went down with torn ACL’s earlier this offseason. Long had a knee injury last offseason with a torn meniscus and was forced to miss the first four games of the year, but the injury did not slow down his production. Long tallied 75 tackles and 16.5 tackles for loss along with 3.5 sacks in just nine games.
Defensive coordinator Tony Gibson has said from day one, he thinks Long has a chance to re-write some records in the Mountaineer history books and probably would have had he not missed four games. One record he has a great chance to snag is career tackles for loss. He currently has 21.5 in his career and needs 27.5 over the next two seasons to surpass former defensive end Julian Miller (2007-11) for the record, meaning he would only need to average 13.8 tackles for loss during the next two years, which for David Long, is more than doable.
Not only can Long re-write some records, but he is an integral part of what the Mountaineers do defensively. He is without a doubt, the unquestioned leader of this extremely young and inexperienced defense and he will be a big part into how successful this defense can be in 2018. Some believe that if he wasn’t considered “undersized” that a solid junior campaign could mean that he might declare for the 2019 NFL Draft. It is still possible, however, it seems more likely that he will stay for his senior season in order to give the scouts more film to drool over.