MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia has made its first noteworthy position change of preseason training camp.
Junior Dante Bonamico has moved from free safety to spear, which is a more in-the-box hybrid of safety and linebacker in Vic Koenning’s defense. Bonamico will mix in with senior JoVanni Stewart and redshirt freshman Kwantel Raines at the position.
True freshman Tykee Smith is on the other end of the swap. Smith opened training camp learning the spear behind Stewart and Raines, but was moved to free safety for Thursday and Friday’s practices. Junior Jake Long has been the other player getting first-team reps at free safety along with Bonamico.
Outside linebackers coach Al Pogue, who also coaches the spears, is sad to see Smith leave his room.
“He’s a natural,” Pogue said. “It won’t be long before you see him out there knocking down balls and intercepting them. He’s really athletic. Great at changing direction. He’s savvy — he’s just one of those kids you say has got it.”
Smith, a Philadelphia native, was the top-rated signee in West Virginia’s 2019 class to actually make it to campus. Pogue says he is ahead of the curve for a player who enrolled over the summer.
“A lot of times you see young guys heads spinning a little bit,” Pogue said. “He’s always cool. Especially for a kid who didn’t have a spring with us. We threw a lot at him and he’s grasping it.”
That said, Pogue is also excited for what Bonamico will bring to his room.
“He has a lot of energy,” Pogue said. “With him and Stewart, there’s a lot of energy in that group.”
Former West Virginia wide receiver Dillon Spalding won’t be returning to Morgantown with his new team.
Spalding transferred from WVU to James Madison this summer, but the Harrisonburg (Va.) Daily News Record reports that he had to quit football due to a career-ending hip injury. Spalding will remain enrolled at James Madison.