There is plenty of star power on the West Virginia University football team’s defense.
The Stills brothers, Darius and Dante, burst into the national spotlight last season, Arizona graduate transfer Tony Fields has already shown to be one of the best linebackers in the Big 12 and safety Tykee Smith was a freshman All-American last season.
One name you will not hear a lot on the television broadcast is that of linebacker Dylan Tonkery. The senior, however, had the defense’s biggest play as the Mountaineers upset No. 16 Kansas State 37-10 Saturday. Tonkery intercepted a tipped pass from K-State quarterback Will Howard and returned it 18 yards for the first touchdown of his career.
— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) November 1, 2020
“Nobody deserves that pick-six more than Dylan Tonkery,” WVU football coach Neal Brown said Monday morning. “As good a teammate as we have in our football program. Completely unselfish, team guy, coachable, hits teammates love him. I was super fired up for Tonk to get that pick-six.”
Tonkery does a little bit of everything for the Mountaineers. He plays multiple linebacker spots, bandit and mike, and on special teams. He’s played in 37 games and has 102 total tackles in his career, making him one of the most experienced players on WVU’s defense.
“He played well on defense, that was the best he’s played on defense all year and he’s been solid on special teams,” Brown said. “Very deserving, if you saw the reaction when he came to the sideline, that tells you everything you need to know.”
A Class AA state champion and standout during his high school career at Bridgeport, Tonkery joined the Mountaineers in 2016, following in the footsteps of his brother, Wes, who played at WVU from 2010 to 2014.
WVU Sports pointed out on Twitter that Tonkery was the first native of Harrison County to score a touchdown for the Mountaineers in several decades.
𝘿𝙞𝙙 𝙔𝙤𝙪 𝙆𝙣𝙤𝙬❓ Bridgeport's Dylan Tonkery (LB) became the first Harrison County (WV) native to score a touchdown for @WVUfootball since Clarksburg's Tom Williams (RB) scored a 7-yard rushing TD in the 1969 season opener. pic.twitter.com/wBO7STpz0O
— WVU Sports (@WVUSports) November 1, 2020