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Mountaineers Add Troy Grad Transfer Punter Tyler Sumpter for Next Season

Cody Nespor

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The Mountaineer football team made another addition over the weekend, with the commitment announcment of graduate transfer Tyler Sumpter from Troy.

A kicker/punter at Troy, Sumpter will be able to fill a hole on WVU’s specials teams in 2020. With the graduation of Josh Growden following last season, West Virginia was left without any punting experience on its team. Sumpter, who played at Troy from 2017-19 will bring both familiarity with head coach Neal Brown and three seasons worth of punting experience to the Mountaineers.

Sumpter handled both kicking and punting duties all three years he played with the Trojans. In his career, Sumpter is 39-51 (76.5%) on field goals and has a 42.2 yard average on 156 career punts. As a kicker, Sumpter’s longest make came from 50 yards and he was 14-18 (77.8%) in 2019. He has had a single kick blocked, in 2017.

Punting the ball, Sumpter’s presumed role at WVU, he has 33 career punts of more than 50 yards and has downed 46 punts inside opponents’ 20-yard line. He has produced 54 fair catches and 11 touchbacks.

With Growden at the helm, WVU’s punting unit was one of the best in the nation last season. On 68 punts Growden averaged 42.1 yards, with seven of more than 50 yards, 18 downed inside the 20 and 32 fair catches. All season, WVU’s opponents returned only 16 punts for 100 yards. WVU allowed a 73-yard punt return touchdown in the season finale against TCU or else opponents’ total would only be 15 returns for 27 yards (1.8-yard average).

Kicking duties were split between Evan Staley and Casey Legg. The duo combined to go 13-21 (61.9%) last season.

With Growden’s graduation, three punters were left on WVU’s roster, red-shirt freshmen Kolton McGhee and Leighton Bechdel and redshirt-sophomore Evan Matthes, none of whom have ever punted in college before.

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Cody is currently a second-year graduate student at West Virginia University studying journalism. His graduate research focuses on the effects newspaper closures have on local communities. He graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2018 with a degree in digital media production. He was born and raised in Mercer, Pennsylvania.

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