MORGANTOWN, W.Va.: On Monday afternoon, head coach Neal Brown and the Mountaineer coaching staff handed out the third full scholarship of the 2021 season to a familiar face.
Following Malachi Ruffin on defense and Graeson Malashevich on offense last week, it was finally time for some special teams appreciation.
Punter and back-up kicker Tyler Sumpter was given a full scholarship more than five years following his introduction to Neal Brown, in a satirical reenactment of his initial WVU transfer announcement.
🚨 SCHOLARSHIP ALERT 🚨
— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) August 23, 2021
As a freshman at Troy, not far from his home in Birmingham, Sumpter was redshirted by Brown’s staff. That redshirt freshman season with the Trojans secured his special teams position, when he went 34-of-34 on extra points and 7-of-9 on field goal attempts.
His 2017 season turned quickly into accolades, including All-Sun Belt kicker and punter awards. Nationally, he ranked no. 16 in made field goals with 18.
In 2019, once Brown had departed Troy for West Virginia, Sumpter continued to dominate the Sun Belt, earning All-Sun Belt Conference punter awards once more. He concluded that redshirt junior season with 42 punts for 1,737 yards, an average of 41.4 yards.
In 2020, Brown gave him a chance to kick for a Power-5 school, one that he couldn’t refuse. WVU carries two kickers: redshirt junior Casey Legg for kick-off and Sumpter for occasional field goals and punting duties. He appeared in nine games in the 2020 season, including a 31-yard made field goal in the Liberty Bowl.
During fall camp ahead of this season, while Evan Staley was out with a knee injury, Sumpter was getting all the reps at kicker. The relationship he has fostered with head coach Brown is a strong bond, and Sumpter’s work is far from over. He’s a mainstay on special teams and a welcome addition to the 2021 Mountaineer scholarship players.