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Post-Spring Depth Chart Projection: Defense

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West Virginia’s spring camp came and went without much fanfare and a canceled spring game due to poor weather conditions. But in the last two months, a handful of transfers and injuries have transpired and are set to shake up the original 2018 depth chart released in March. Let’s break down the defensive side of the ball where the most change will actually occur.

Original depth chart:

DE – 1. Ezekiel Rose 2. Jeffery Pooler

NT – 1. Darius Stills 2. Brenon Thrift

DE- 1. Reese Donahue 2. Stone Wolfley

Sam – 1. Quondarius Qualls 2. Charlie Benton

Mike – 1. Dylan Tonkery 2. Brendan Ferns

Will – 1. Adam Hensley 2. Josh Chandler

LCB – 1. Hakeem Bailey 2. Jake Long

RCB – 1. Derek Pitts 2. Keith Washington

FS – 1. Kenny Robinson 2. Josh Norwood

Bandit – 1. Toyous Avery 2. E.J. Brown

Spur – 1. Dravon Askew-Henry 2. Jovani Stewart

 

The post-spring projected depth chart:

 

Defensive Line

OUT: Lamont McDougle, Adam Shuler

IN: Jabril Robinson (Clemson), Kenny Bigelow Jr.

The transfer situation along the defensive line has been the focal point of the offseason. First, Shuler decided to quit football to pursue track and field and McDougle – despite being selected to the All-American Freshman Team – transferred to Washington State. In order to bolster the defensive front, Holgorsen tapped into the transfer market himself and secured the pledges of Robinson and Bigelow Jr. Robinson was buried on the depth chart behind 4 future NFL draft picks at Clemson and yearned for a starting opportunity in Morgantown. Bigelow Jr, once a 5-star prospect, committed to Southern Cal in 2013 before suffering two season-ending knee injuries. The NCAA granted him a 6th season in order for him to transfer. Both will be counted on early and often. If Bigelow can stay healthy, his 6’3″, 300+ pound frame will allow him to compliment Darius Stills at nose tackle. Robinson will most likely slide to either edge and push Reese Donahue for starter’s minutes.

Projected Two-Deep:

DE – 1. Ezekiel Rose 2. Jeffery Pooler

NT – 1. Darius Stills 2. Kenny Bigelow Jr.

DE – 1. Jabril Robinson 2. Reese Donahue

Linebackers

OUT: Quondarius Qualls (Injury), Brendan Ferns (Injury)

IN: N/A

Qualls will actually be back to start the 2018 season after suffering an ACL tear in spring camp and even though Brendan Ferns suffered the same injury, he will miss the 2018 season since it his second ACL tear in the same knee. It’s hard to compensate for losing players for any reason, but the Mountaineers have exceptional depth and will simply rotate guys in until Qualls can get back on the field. David Long was kept off the initial depth chart since he is fighting an injury but his position and status for the season ahead is not in question.

Projected Two-Deep:

Sam – 1. Charlie Benton 2. Josh Chandler

Mike – 1. Dylan Tonkery 2. Zach Sandwisch

Will – 1. David Long 2. Adam Hensley

Secondary

OUT: N/A

IN: Denzel Fisher (UCLA)

Luckily, defensive coordinator Tony Gibson won’t need to fill spots left behind due to transfers but he will need to find playmakers to make up for Kyzir White’s production from last season. And it seems he is more than willing to turn to position changes in order to do so. Kenny Robinson was moved to free safety from the corner spot during spring camp and Derek Pitts was moved to corner. Askew-Henry will fill White’s shoes at SPUR but it will be interesting to see what Gibson does with Kwantel Raines when he makes it to campus. Cornerback Keith Washington already transferred in from Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Mississippi and Fisher will join him in the summer to add even more depth to the secondary.

Projected Two-Deep:

LCB – 1. Hakeem Bailey 2. Denzel Fisher

RCB – 1. Derek Pitts 2. Keith Washington

FS – 1. Kenny Robinson 2. Josh Norwood

Bandit – 1. Toyous Avery 2. E.J. Brown

Spur – 1. Dravon Askew-Henry 2. JoVanni Stewart 3. Kwantel Raines

Welcome to the new home of WVU football and basketball breaking news, analysis and recruiting. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and check us out on YouTube. And don't forget to subscribe for all of our articles delivered directly to your inbox.

Graduated from East Tennessee State University with a BA in English and minor in journalism. Born and raised in Huntington, WV before moving to Johnson City, TN to attend school. Now married and rooted in Bristol, TN. Follow Matt on Twitter @MattAlbrightGBZ

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