West Virginia head coach Neal Brown’s hard work this off-season is not going unnoticed.
His Mountaineers were mentioned on the Always College Football Podcast with Greg McElroy as “one of the five teams you don’t want to mess with this season.”
The former University of Alabama quarterback turned analyst gave West Virginia’s roster multiple high-quality compliments on the podcast, which was posted to ESPN College Football’s YouTube page on Tuesday.
“They have a ton of weapons on the outside,” McElroy said of the Mountaineers. “They are solid at wide receiver. … Everyone’s back along the offensive line, that’s another huge bonus. … It should be among the better defensive lines in the Big 12. … I think they’re a really dangerous team.”
The Mountaineers are returning two of their top three receivers from 2021 — Bryce Ford-Wheaton and Sam James. The duo, which combined for 1,080 yards and eight touchdowns on 84 total receptions last season, are projected to be in the starting lineup alongside sophomores Kaden Prather (12 catches for 175 yards last year) and Reese Smith (12 for 124).
Wyatt Milum, James Gmiter, Zach Frazier, Doug Nester and Brandon Yates/JaQuay Hubbard are the returning offensive linemen up front for West Virginia.
On the defensive line, Tajih Alston (end), Dante Stills (tackle) and Jordan Jefferson (nose) are slated to start. Alston was eighth on the Mountaineers with 36 total tackles in 2021. Stills also finished with 36, while Jefferson totaled 17 in limited action.