MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Today continues a position-by-position examination of where the West Virginia football team stands after spring practice.
The eight-day video series scours the two-deep as the Mountaineers seek to rebound from last season’s 4-8 finish.
Tuesday, April 15
Wednesday, April 16
Thursday, April 17
Secondary: Trying to reverse two dreadful years of pass defense
Friday, April 18
Special teams: Aiming to be really special in 2014?
Monday, April 21
Offensive line: Are the Mountaineers vulnerable up front?
Tuesday, April 22
Receivers: Can they get their swagger back?
Wednesday, April 23
Running backs: Is this the best unit in the Big 12?
Thursday, April 24
Quarterbacks: Can any of the current QBs win eight games?
When K.J. Dillon first walked into the WVU team room at the outset of spring practice, reporters did a double-take. A stringy 180-pounder the last time he saw the field against Texas in November—a game that ended his season by resulting in a scary trip to the ICU for severe dehydration—Dillon now reported at a buffed-up 207 pounds.
The junior safety clearly made the most of his offseason workouts: “I’ve bounced back by getting my body right, my mind right.”
The mind part was perhaps more important than the muscle.
“He has been very disruptive on defense and more disciplined,” said Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen. “He’s always been disruptive on defense, but sometimes it was more disruptive for himself or me than he has opposing offenses.”
Though listed as the first-teamer at Spur linebacker, Dillon’s essentially a third safety tasked with covering slot receivers and mixing in edge blitzes.
Projected starters: Left cornerback Icky Banks (6-0, 180, redshirt senior) has made 16 career starts, while right corner Daryl Worley (6-1, 200, sophomore) appears poised for a breakout season. Strong safety Karl Joseph (5-10, 194, junior) has started all 25 career games and developed a reputation for being the league’s most punishing tacklers. At free safety, Jeremy Tyler (5-11, 202, sophomore) has a slim edge over Ricky Rumph (5-11, 181, junior). Then there’s Dillon, (6-1, 207, junior), playing the hybrid Spur/nickel back spot.
Backups: Terrell Chestnut (5-10, 185, junior) is behind Banks, while small-but-savvy junior college transfer Keishawn Richardson (5-9, 166) makes quite a contrast behind Worley. Jarrod Harper (6-0, 208, redshirt sophomore) has improved but he’ll likely have to settle for working on special teams, because Joseph never seems to take a play off. Behind Dillon are rangy sophomore Marvin Gross (6-4, 194), redshirt freshman Malik Greaves (6-2, 208) and Dayron Wilson (5-11, 202, redshirt junior).
Watch the video at the top of the page for player highlights and to learn how Allan Taylor and Justin Hoff grade the secondary after spring practice.