Last week, West Virginia head coach Neal Brown talked about the positives and negatives of having to run split-squad practices as a COVID-19 precaution.
One of the biggest positives Brown mentioned was that working with smaller groups allowed coaches to spend more time coaching each individual player. Brown specifically focused on this positive in terms of helping out the true freshmen, who would not get that kind of individual attention.
However, this logic could extend beyond just the freshman, to any player who would otherwise not receive a lot of individual instruction. Be it scout team players, walk-ons or just guys who are buried on the depth chart, everyone would benefit from more coaching.
In that vein of reasoning, there are three former walk-ons who Brown has been talking about a lot through the team’s first dozen or so fall practices. Be it the more individual coaching or maybe just getting more exposure with increased reps in practice, these are three players that we have rarely heard any coach mention in the past. Whatever the reason, they have caught Brown’s eye in camp so far.
Lorenzo Dorr – R-Sr. Running Back
Dorr is one of those players that seems to have just never been given a chance. An unrated recruit out of Riverbend High School in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Dorr (5-foot-9, 198 lbs.) started his college career at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
As a true freshman in 2016, Dorr played in four games for the Bobcats and had one carry that lost one yard. After that season Dorr came to WVU and redshirted in 2017. Since then Dorr has been a scout team and special teams player. He has had four career rushes for 11 yards as a Mountaineer.
Despite all of that, Dorr has been mentioned twice by Brown so far this camp. After day nine of camp, Brown listed Dorr as an offensive standout alongside starters like Sam James and Bryce Ford-Wheaton. Dorr also reportedly ripped off a 27-yard run during the team’s scrimmage Saturday.
With Kennedy McKoy having graduated and Martell Pettaway transferred to MTSU, Dorr might be able to find carries in the running back rotation behind starter Leddie Brown and role players Tony Mathis and Alec Sinkfield.
Naim Muhammad – R-Fr. Spear
Sticking with Saturday’s scrimmage, Muhammad the play of the day, according to Brown, when he picked off freshman quarterback Garrett Greene with one hand at the goal line.
A walk-on last year, Muhammad (5-foot-10, 204 lbs.) was an unrated recruit from DeMatha Catholic in Washington D.C. Muhammad played cornerback and receiver during a post-grad year at Fork Union Military Academy, but came to WVU as a cornerback.
Muhammad has transitioned to spear for this season where he could get some more playing time. Behind starter Tykee Smith, the only players listed at spear on WVU’s roster are Muhammad and senior Dante Bonamico.
Graeson Malashevich – R-Fr. Wide Receiver
Out of these three players, Malashevich’s future at WVU is the one Brown seems most confident in.
“I love him,” Brown said of Malashevich Saturday. “The way he plays, he competes, he’s one of our best perimeter blockers and he’s got a future here.”
Another unrated recruit, Malashevich was the Gatorade West Virginia Player of the Year for Spring Valley High School in Ceredo, WV. As a senior, Malashevic (5-foot-9, 179 lbs.) had 915 receiving yards and caught 14 touchdowns and ran for 895 yards and 11 more scores.
Malashevic was a scoring machine as he also passed for five touchdowns, scored two punt return touchdowns, one kickoff return touchdown and had two interception returns for touchdowns. That is 35 total touchdowns scored in six different ways.