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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: West Virginia
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  07/17/21 - Dante StillsSr/2022, West Virginia, 6-2, 280 (DS#7 DT) + More +

  West Virginia defensive lineman Dante Stills is forever fighting mistaken perceptions, not to mention identify. In 2021, even after being part of a squad that led the nation in pass defense a year prior, he still hears questions from some media members about the supposed defensive shortcomings of the Big 12. "I tell people that all the time," he said of the fact that teams in the Big 12 have good defenses, albeit ones that are often overshadowed by some spectacular offensive play. "There may be times when you see the offense put up 50 points, but the defense can still be really good. I think the defensive side of the ball has some dogs, but they're going up against tempo and fast pace. Every team has good offensive linemen for sure. The offenses are so explosive, that takes away from some of (the attention) the defenses should get. Our defense last year was top five in the country, but I don't think we got the notoriety we deserved. I feel like we should have been in the conversation more." - Charleston Gazette-Mail

(DS#7 DT) Sr/2022 DT Dante StillsWest Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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  07/09/21 - Dante StillsSr/2022, West Virginia, 6-2, 280 (DS#7 DT) + More +

  West Virginia senior defensive lineman Dante Stills was honored with a preseason All-Big 12 Conference spot on Wednesday as voted on by media. Stills was the only Mountaineer to make the 30-player squad. The 6-foot-4, 280-pound senior led West Virginia with 10.5 tackles for loss last season and also recorded 35 tackles and a pair of sacks. He was named an All-Big 12 honorable mention player in 2020. - Charleston Gazette-Mail

(DS#7 DT) Sr/2022 DT Dante StillsWest Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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  West Virginia has again gone the transfer route to bolster its linebacker position for the 2021 season. WVU coach Neal Brown had made no secret of his desire to get more immediate help for the spot this year, which was left a bit thin at the conclusion of the 2020 campaign. Even with the addition of Penn State linebacker Lance Dixon earlier this spring, the Mountaineers remained in seach of additional help and received it yesterday in the form of graduate transfer Deshawn Stevens.

A native of Toronto, Stevens (6-2, 255 lbs.) is a graduate of the University of Maine, where he played for the Black Bears from 2017-20. After redshirting in his initial season of 2016, in which he was the squad's scout team defensive player of the year, he played in 10 games in 2017, starting three, while recording 50 tackles. He had a breakout year in 2018 with 120 tackles (17 for loss) and nine sacks while earning sophomore All-America first-team honors and a spot on the all-conference second team in 14 starts. He also had two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble, two pass breakups and an interception. - Charleston Gazette-Mail


(DS#999 ILB) rSr/2022 ILB Deshawn StevensWest Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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  05/18/21 - Scottie YoungSr/2022, West Virginia, 5-11, 204 (DS#38 FS) + More +

  Scottie Young's role in the 2021 Mountaineer defense has changed from a nice piece to the puzzle to key driving force in the overall machine. A three-year starter at the University of Arizona, Young transferred to West Virginia in May of 2020 with the thought that after sitting out the upcoming season, he would provide some badly-needed depth to a secondary that was facing significant graduation losses. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans? Those plans laid in the spring of 2020 have seen plenty of twists and turns ever since. Initially, it was expected that two of West Virginia's starting safeties, Sean Mahone and Alonzo Addae, both of whom were fifth-year seniors last season, would each need to be replaced.

But then the NCAA declared that because of the uncertainties in dealing with COVID-19, the '20 season would not count against a student-athlete's eligibility clock. Mahone and Addae each decided to take advantage of the extra year and are returning to WVU this season for their sixth year in the college ranks. At that point, Young was viewed as someone to provide depth in the safety rotation, but then came another twist when the Mountaineers' starting spear safety Tykee Smith announced he was leaving via a transfer to Georgia. Suddenly Young's role greatly expanded, and he spent this past spring working with the first-team defense at the spear, which is a hybrid position that requires the coverage skills of a cornerback and the tackling ability of a linebacker. - Charleston Gazette-Mail


(DS#38 FS) Sr/2022 FS Scottie YoungWest Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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  Though the West Virginia receiving corps is a deep and largely balanced positional group, if one were to tab a true No. 1 receiver, at least in terms of production, it would be difficult to make an argument against Winston Wright. After leading the team in both receptions (47) and yards (553) last season, the junior slot/possession receiver entered the offseason and the spring with a newfound confidence in his place within the WVU attack. Wright drew rave reviews from coaches during the team's 15 spring practices, and his role as the room's alpha male was evident during the Gold-Blue Game as Wright made a team-high four catches and was clearly quarterback Jarret Doege's go-to option. But with that new role has come new responsibilities for Wright, both in terms of leadership and production. In a media conference after the Gold-Blue Game, Wright discussed both of those things.

"We've got a unique group," Wright said. "All of us our young, but we have some old guys in the room so really, just speaking up - just showing your work without speaking is good too. They follow. You lead." That work is and has been multifaceted since the 2020 season ended. Wright said one of his first concerns was in the weight room, where he attempted to bulk up. Now at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds on the latest WVU official roster, Wright said he's done just that. But his physical attributes are just tools for doing the job as a wide receiver. Wright said it was his goal to become a more complete player in that endeavor. "I felt like I needed to get better being a complete wide receiver," Wright said. "Not just my speed and stuff, just me blocking and doing the little things that's going to separate me. I feel like my coaches did a good job of explaining how to block and I'm getting it now, so I feel very comfortable within the game." - Charleston Gazette-Mail


(DS#23 WR) Jr/2023 WR Winston Wright Jr.West Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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  05/08/21 - Alonzo AddaerSr/2022, West Virginia, 5-11, 192 (DS#18 CB) + More +

  Add another Mountaineer to a draft list, but don't wave goodbye to him just yet. West Virginia safety Alonzo Addae was drafted by the Ottawa RedBlacks of the Canadian Football League with the fourth pick in the second round (13th overall) on Tuesday night, but that doesn't mean he is departing for a pro career just yet. The CFL, which has pushed its normal spring start date back to Aug. 5, did not play last year, and thus expects a crush of new players this year in terms of last year's draftees, free agents and this year's selections.

With that as background, and also due to the extra year of eligibility all NCAA players received due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Addae, along with other U.S. college players selected, will retain their eligibility and be able to play in NCAA competition this season, while their CFL selecting teams will retain their future pro rights. While Addae could elect to begin his professional career this year, most signs point to him returning to WVU for the 2021 season, as he announced he would following the Mountaineers' Liberty Bowl win over Army in December. - Charleston Gazette-Mail


(DS#18 CB) rSr/2022 CB Alonzo AddaeWest Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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  05/08/21 - Scottie YoungSr/2022, West Virginia, 5-11, 204 (DS#38 FS) + More +

  With the annual Gold-Blue Game putting a cap on WVU spring practice a couple of weeks ago, football is again put on pause until workouts resume later in the summer and hit full gear with the start of the season looming on Sept. 4. Mountaineer fans are undoubtedly on edge, anxiously awaiting that day. But likely none of them are more geared up for the start of the season than one of the team's players. That would be senior transfer (for the second straight year) Scottie Young, who finished off his first spring in Morgantown after last year's spring practices were largely wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Young came over from Arizona as a graduate transfer prior to last season along with linebacker Tony Fields, who was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the fifth round of the NFL draft over the weekend. Fields' 2020 season obviously went well, but Young's never got off the ground as he fought eligibility issues until finally making his first start in a 24-21 Liberty Bowl win over Army. To Young's credit, he was able to keep things in perspective while looking on from the sidelines last season, but he's ready to make up for lost time this year. "I had an opportunity to watch guys like Tony, I spent my whole career with him, I watched him excel and have fun out there, it brought a smile to my face every Saturday to see my teammates having fun," Young said after the Gold-Blue game. "When they have fun, I have fun. I played three straight years and then I had to sit out, that was definitely fuel to the fire. I still got some more fuel, so I'm just ready to get this season going." - Charleston Gazette-Mail


(DS#38 FS) Sr/2022 FS Scottie YoungWest Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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  05/04/21 - Darius StillsSr/2021, West Virginia, 6-1, 278 (DS#13 DT) + More +

  As the seventh and final round of the National Football League torture chamber that the league calls its draft began, West Virginia's All-American defensive tackle Darius Stills had had enough sitting around watching and waiting, something he'd done for three days. And so, he took to Twitter. "Ain't No Way All These DTs Better Then Me," he tweeted, adding an emoji with its head tilted laughing. He was right, you know. There was no way that many defensive tackles in the country were better than him. No way half of them were. He was a consensus All-American. He was the defensive lineman of the year in the Big 12. He was a big-time player in a Power 5 conference in the middle of the defensive line that anchored the fourth best defense in the country. And he was passed over for 259 picks. Ludicrous. The funny thing was, they gave him little but positive feedback in their dealings with him. - Charleston Gazette-Mail

(DS#13 DT) Sr/2021 DT Darius StillsWest Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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  West Virginia's offense struggled mightily in 2019, Brown's first season as WVU's head coach, finishing last in the Big 12 in scoring offense (20.6 points per game) and total offense (321.9 yards per game). The Mountaineer offense made some strides last year, improving to sixth in the league in total yards (412.6 per game) and to eighth in scoring (26.5 points per game). Now it will look to take another step or three. Those past offenses were youthful, but in 2021 there is considerably more experience on that side of the ball. WVU returns 16 offensive players who have started previously and another nine who have seen game action.

Sophomore slot receiver Winston Wright is one of those who was pressed into action early in his career, playing in 10 games and catching 19 passes for 97 yards as a true freshman in 2019. A year's experience under his belt helped the Savannah, Georgia, native vault to the top of West Virginia's receiving list last season, as he hauled in 47 receptions for 553 yards. "Last year I was a sophomore and the coaches put a little bit more on me," explained Wright, who had a game-high four catches in Saturday's Gold-Blue Scrimmage. "I thought that helped my confidence. Now I'm ready to lead." - Charleston Gazette-Mail


(DS#23 WR) Jr/2023 WR Winston Wright Jr.West Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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  Junior Mike O'Laughlin has found himself at the center of the biggest area of schematic change in the West Virginia University football offense this spring. O'Laughlin and his fellow tight ends have been incorporated into what head coach Neal Brown calls the 12-personnel formation - one running back, two tight ends and two wideouts. But that's OK with O'Laughlin, who's been changing ever since he's arrived in Morgantown. Once a 210-pound receiver out of high school, O'Laughlin, now checking in at 6-foot-5, 257 pounds, is the leader of a tight end room that has grown exponentially in terms of responsibilities and bodies over the last few months as a tight end renaissance sweeps across college football and beyond.

"People are starting to invest in tight ends and seeing what they can do for a team and what they can do against a defense," O'Laughlin said during a Zoom media call on Thursday. "It's becoming a bigger role." It certainly is in Morgantown, as evidenced by the recruitment of Victor Wikstrom and Treylan Davis, both of whom are on campus as early enrollees as spring practice winds down, concluding with Saturday's Blue-Gold Game. That brings the number of tight ends on the Mountaineers' roster up to six, and it's no coincidence that several Big 12 teams have been at the forefront finding increased and creative roles for the position. - Charleston Gazette-Mail


(DS#24 TE) rJr/2023 TE Mike OLaughlinWest Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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  04/24/21 - Charles WoodsSr/2022, West Virginia, 6-1, 175 (DS#106 CB) + More +

  Charles Woods, a defensive back from Illinois State, will transfer to West Virginia University, football coach Neal Brown announced Wednesday. Woods, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound redshirt junior, has two years of eligibility. A Dallas native, Woods redshirted his junior season with the Redbirds. As a sophomore, Woods started all 15 games at cornerback for Illinois State, and was second in the Missouri Valley Football Conference with 17 passes defended. He tallied 48 tackles on the season, along with four interceptions, 4.5 tackles for loss, and 13 pass breakups. - Charleston Gazette-Mail

(DS#106 CB) Sr/2022 CB Charles WoodsWest Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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  04/24/21 - Dante StillsSr/2022, West Virginia, 6-2, 280 (DS#7 DT) + More +

  The Stills brothers are only one year apart age-wise. So, since Darius declared for the upcoming 2021 NFL draft, Dante wanted to join him. The Stills brothers are just that close. The problem was Darius' 2020 resume was much more impressive than Dante's. The 6-foot-1, 279-pound senior finished the season with 12 solo tackles and 13 assists for a total of 25 stops. Stills had 7.5 tackles for loss including 3.5 sacks totaling 22 yards in losses and actually intercepted a pass. That led to the elder Stills being voted Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-American. That's why he is NFL-bound while younger brother Dante is still suited up in blue and gold.

"Throughout the season I wasn't performing at the level I thought I would," said the younger Stills, showing uncommon self-awareness. "People thought I did good, but my stats weren't showing it. Which that is kind of a big deal. I mean, stats are how much you are doing throughout the year." The handwriting was on the wall. Darius needed to step up while Dante needed to stay put. "I just feel I didn't do as much as I needed to do," said the younger Stills, "to be at that level that Darius was at. That's kind of just how I thought. I was like, it's best for me to stay another year. And work and work and work, so I'm able to be at that level next year." - Charleston Gazette-Mail


(DS#7 DT) Sr/2022 DT Dante StillsWest Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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  04/23/21 - Zach FrazierSo/2024, West Virginia, 6-2, 308 (DS#32 OG) + More +

  To begin the 2020 football season, a one-game suspension to WVU senior Chase Behrndt thrust Zach Frazier into a spot no Mountaineer had been in for over 40 years - a true freshman starting at center in a season opener. But Frazier more than embraced the opportunity, seizing the chance and never letting go as he went on to start all 10 West Virginia games in 2020, with most of those coming at guard when Behrndt returned. Now, with Behrndt having graduated, the center spot - and the position as the vocal leader and anchor of the offensive line - likely belongs to Frazier, whose early and sudden playing time paved the way for what could be an even bigger season this year.

And that's coming off a freshman All-America campaign. With increased responsibility comes increased expectations, however, and during a Zoom media session, Frazier, a Fairmont Senior product, said he has grown in multiple areas since last season to help take all of it on. "I'd say I've grown a lot as a leader being that I'm playing center now and I have to make calls for the line and really use my voice, when before I haven't had to do that and it's something I had to work on," Frazier said. "Then, as a person, I'd say I've just been working on myself, and as a player, I've just continued to work on my craft and really try to perfect my technique and it's never good enough." - Charleston Gazette-Mail


(DS#32 OG) So/2024 OG Zach FrazierWest Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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  04/12/21 - Dante StillsSr/2022, West Virginia, 6-2, 280 (DS#7 DT) + More +

  In a way, Dante Stills didn't think he'd be playing at West Virginia this year, his senior season. He envisioned himself as a player who might be able to join brother Darius in the NFL draft this season, but there are dreamers and there are realists and, it turned out, the West Virginia defensive tackle was more realist than dreamer. "My main goal coming into my junior year was I want to leave, I want to be a three-year guy," Dante Stills admitted. "But throughout the year I wasn't performing at the level I thought I should have been. I did good, but my stats weren't showing it. Stats show how much you are doing throughout the year and I didn't feel I did as much as I needed to do to be at the level Darius is at.

"I thought it was best for me to stay another year and work and work and work so I am able to be at that level next year." Stills had a decent year, but he wasn't the dominant player he wanted to be or that you have to be if you are to make a dent on draft day, so after playing with Dante for three years at Fairmont Senior and three years at West Virginia - separated only the year Dante graduated and came to WVU - the two older sons of former Mountaineer star pass rusher Gary Stills will be apart. "He's here right now, but once he leaves it's going to be different," Dante Stills admitted. "I'm so used to living with him my whole life. I know he knows it's a business, a job. He knows I'm going to handle my business and I know he will, too." - Charleston Gazette-Mail


(DS#7 DT) Sr/2022 DT Dante StillsWest Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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  04/04/21 - Leddie BrownSr/2022, West Virginia, 5-11, 210 (DS#2 RB) + More +

  A first-team all-Big 12 honoree last year, Leddie admits there are still things he needs to improve upon this spring, even if his contact work is limited. "I pretty much do everything the team does," he explained of his practice routine, "but I'm big on blitz pickup, recognizing blitzes, breaking down the defenses and things like that. That's my goal this spring." A big point of emphasis for Leddie this spring is in catching the football. His 31 receptions last year tied him for second on the team, and it was the most of any Big 12 running back, but still he thinks he can do even more in that area. "Thirty-one is a pretty good number, but I'm looking to improve that number this season," stated Brown, who is a native of Wilmington, Delaware. "Me catching the ball more will help me in the eyes of the NFL scouts, because that's what they're looking for, backs who can do it all - run, catch and block, the full package. That's what I'm trying to show them." - Charleston Gazette-Mail

(DS#2 RB) Sr/2022 RB Leddie BrownWest Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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