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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: West Virginia
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  07/30/21 - Dante StillsSr/2022, West Virginia, 6-2, 280 (DS#11 DT) + More +

  A pair of in-state defensive standouts received preseason accolades on Tuesday afternoon. West Virginia defensive tackle Dante Stills and Marshall defensive tackle Jamare Edwards were named to the Bronko Nagurski Award watch list, as released by the Football Writers Association of America. Stills was also one of 80 preseason nominees named to the Outland Trophy watch list.

The Nagurski Award is given annually by the Football Writers Association of America to the nation's top interior defensive lineman. The preseason watch list features 90 players. The Outland Trophy winner is chosen from three finalists who are part of the annual FWAA All-America Team. Committee members select the winner, based on the three finalists. Stills is no stranger to preseason accolades, returning as one of the Big 12's top defenders for the 2021 season. In 2020, the Fairmont native finished with 35 tackles, including a team-best 10.5 tackles for loss. He added two sacks, two pass breakups, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick. - Charleston Gazette


(DS#11 DT) Sr/2022 DT Dante StillsWest Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette
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  Tennessee defensive lineman Darel Middleton, a former Oak Ridge standout, has transferred to West Virginia. Middleton, who started 12 games over the past two seasons for the Vols, entered the NCAA transfer portal in June and announced his destination via Twitter. The 6-foot-7, 305-pounder spent two years at East Mississippi Community College, the site of the Netflix show "Last Chance U," and played two seasons at Tennessee. He has one year of eligibility remaining to play at West Virginia. Middleton, 23, was arrested in February 2020 on misdemeanor charges of domestic assault and public intoxication. He faced allegations that he twice shoved his girlfriend to the ground, causing her to scrape her knee. The charges were dismissed in July 2020. - Knoxville News Sentinel

(DS#999 DT) rSr/2022 DT Darel MiddletonWest Virginia
News Source: Knoxville News Sentinel
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  07/25/21 - Leddie BrownSr/2022, West Virginia, 5-11, 216 (DS#14 RB) + More +

  West Virginia University football senior running back Leddie Brown was named Wednesday to the watch list for the Doak Walker Award, which is presented to the top college running back in the nation, as selected by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum. Heading into the 2021 season, Brown was named to the All-Big 12 preseason second team by Athlon Sports, Lindy's and Phil Steele's Magazine. Brown, a 2020 All-Big 12 first-team selection, hit the 1,000-yard rushing plateau for the first time in his career last year, finishing with 1,010 yards and nine touchdowns. He was second in the Big 12 and No. 14 nationally in total rushing yards and No. 27 in rushing yards per game. Brown also was ranked No. 6 in the Big 12 in total points scored (66) and No. 26 nationally in total touchdowns. - Charleston Gazette-Mail

(DS#14 RB) Sr/2022 RB Leddie BrownWest Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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  07/21/21 - Leddie BrownSr/2022, West Virginia, 5-11, 216 (DS#14 RB) + More +

  West Virginia also had two players named to the Maxwell Award watch list on Monday morning. WVU quarterback Jarret Doege was named to the list after leading the Mountaineers to a 6-4 record. WVU running back Leddie Brown also garnered mention on the list after rushing for 1,010 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. Brown's top rushing performance came against Kansas when he rushed for 195 yards on just 18 carries, an average of nearly 11 yards per carry. Brown had five games over 100 yards for the Mountaineers on the season. Those players represented three of 80 players selected for the Maxwell Award's Preseason Watch List on Monday. - Charleston Gazette-Mail

(DS#14 RB) Sr/2022 RB Leddie BrownWest Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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  07/17/21 - Dante StillsSr/2022, West Virginia, 6-2, 280 (DS#11 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#11 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#11 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#11 DT) Sr/2022 DT Dante StillsWest Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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  The movement continues on Tennessee's defensive front. Fifth-year senior Darel Middleton, who started six games during the 2019 season and six more last year, has entered the NCAA transfer portal and plans to use his final season of eligibility elsewhere. The 6-foot-7, 305-pounder from Knoxville played in nine of Tennessee's 10 games last season, tallying 15 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss, which included a 13-yard sack. Middleton is the Volunteers' second defensive lineman in the last week to enter the portal, with redshirt junior Greg Emerson having done so Saturday.

After attending Powell High School in Knoxville and Oak Ridge High, Middleton continued his football career at East Mississippi Community College. He helped EMCC to an undefeated season in 2018 and to the NJCAA national championship, recording 29 tackles and seven tackles for loss. Middleton was the No. 4 junior-college defensive tackle prospect in the 2019 signing class, according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings, and his first season with the Vols yielded 28 tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble and a blocked kick. - Chattanooga Times Free Press


(DS#999 DT) rSr/2022 DT Darel MiddletonWest Virginia
News Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press
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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 YoungrSr/2022, West Virginia, 5-10, 207 (DS#37 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#37 FS) rSr/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#24 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, 5-10, 190 (DS#17 FS) + 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#17 FS) rSr/2022 FS Alonzo AddaeWest Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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  05/08/21 - Scottie YoungrSr/2022, West Virginia, 5-10, 207 (DS#37 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#37 FS) rSr/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#24 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#36 TE) rJr/2023 TE Mike OLaughlinWest Virginia
News Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
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