While the secondary may only have one returning WVU starter in Charles Woods, head coach Neal Brown likes the experience that his incoming transfers bring and expects them to help the secondary improve from last season.
”They have to help,” said Brown. “That’s why we got them… I think they have to help. That was something we needed, we needed experience. It was clear coming out of spring that we needed experience.
”We like our guys… but we needed some experience in that room to match Charles.”
Brown specifically mentioned cornerbacks Wesley McCormick (James Madison) and Rashad Ajayi (Colorado State) as players that stand to help defensively.
He also praised returning cornerback Andrew Wilson-Lamp, who was redshirted last season and listed in the pre-season depth chart as starting opposite Woods.
McCormick redshirted last season, but has appeared in 48 (22 starts) games across his five seasons at James Madison. In 2020 he had three interceptions and five pass breakups, both career-highs.
Ajayi has appeared in 37 games in his career with his best season coming in 2018 when he had his lone interception and a career-high seven passes defended. In 2021 he had six passes defended and also made 29 tackles.
“They’re going to compete to play,” said Brown. “We brought them in for two reasons, we thought they could compete for starting spots at the corner positions and also they can help us on special teams.”
Another notable transfer addition is Jasir Cox (NDSU) who will play the spear position for WVU. Brown said that Cox made a nice play on defense and likes the flexibility that he brings in when they go to a six defensive back package.
“He’s got the ability to get off blocks,” said Brown. “Really smart football player too.”
Cox adds 47 games of experience as well across his four years at NDSU. Combined, those three total for 132 games of experience. That experience isn’t lost on Brown, who thinks it answers the questions posed from the preseason analysis of his roster.
”You look at the number of snaps we brought in,” said Brown. “I think if you look at all these preseason people that have some question marks on us, they’re not necessarily taking into effect that we’ve added over 1,000 reps of live snaps…
”While the maybe haven’t played for us, they’ve played football at a really high level and those three guys have to be ready to play for us, and I think they will. They had a good first day.”