MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – After a nine-month slumber, football is only a week away.

From an entirely new coaching staff to multiple players, West Virginia will look dramatically different than it did the last time it took the field in Orlando last December. Here is an estimation of what the Mountaineers depth chart will look like when the ball is kicked off against James Madison next Saturday:



Jr. Austin Kendall

Jr. Jack Allison

R-Fr. Trey Lowe

Kendall was named the starter last week, finally winning the job with a week left in training camp. It will be the first career start for the graduate transfer from Oklahoma, who has spent three years buried behind Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray.

Though he’s technically a third-stringer, there’s a chance Lowe gets on the field before Allison. The dual-threat offers a different skill set than either Kendall or Allison and may be inserted in certain specialty packages.

Neal Brown said transfer Jarret Doege will not play early in the season despite earning an NCAA waiver for immediate eligibility.

Running back

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West Virginia Mountaineers running back Kennedy McKoy (6) runs the ball during the second quarter against the Kansas State Wildcats at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.

Sr. Kennedy McKoy

Sr. Martell Pettaway

So. Alec Sinkfield

So. Leddie Brown

Consider it a mild surprise if any of these guys goes without a touch against James Madison. Both McKoy and Sinkfield have been practicing in the slot, so there will be multiple situations in which two tailbacks are on the field.

Neal Brown said McKoy is WVU’s top option out of the backfield, but he’s got full trust in the players behind him as well.

Wide receiver

William Wotring/ The Dominion Post

West Virginia Mountaineers receiver Sam James makes a catch during the spring game on Saturday.

Jr. T.J. Simmons

R-Fr. Sam James

So. Sean Ryan

R-Fr. Bryce Wheaton

Sr. George Campbell

R-Fr. Randy Fields

The coaching staff has plenty of confidence in the tandem of Simmons and James. Behind that, there’s plenty of questions.

The arrival of Ryan and Campbell may answer some of them. Behind Simmons, they have the most game-experience amongst West Virginia’s outside receivers. Both are also taller than 6-3, which is nice.


William Wotring/The Dominion Post & WVMetroNews

West Virginia receiver Tevin Bush (14) reels off a 79-yard run against Baylor during Thursday’s 58-14 win.

So. Isaiah Esdale

Jr. Tevin Bush

Fr. Winston Wright

Bush has shown off his talent at WVU, but was rarely mentioned by coaches in preseason camp as Esdale’s stock has elevated.

Simmons will be moved into the slot often, not to mention McKoy and Sinkfield. This position will have many different looks.

Tight End

Joe Swan/WVU Athletics

West Virginia tight end Mike O’Laughlin is ready to go after an eventful freshman year.

R-Fr. Mike O’Laughlin

R-Fr. TJ Banks

Jr. Jovani Haskins

Banks and Haskins were non-contact participants for most of training camp, which temporarily elevates O’Laughlin to the top spot. There’s no word yet on whether Haskins will be punished for a trio of pending misdemeanor charges, but he figures to elevate to the top spot as soon as he’s fully able.

Offensive Line

west virginia-colton mckivitz

Ben Queen/USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia’s Colton McKivitz (53) and Martell Pettaway (32) celebrate a touchdown against Kansas.

Right Tackle

Sr. Kelby Wickline

So. John Hughes

Right Guard

So. John Hughes

Jr. Josh Sills


Jr. Josh Sills

So. Adam Stilley

Left guard

Jr. Mike Brown

Sr. Chase Behrndt

Left tackle

Sr. Colton McKivitz

R-Fr. Junior Ubezu

It’s known that Wickline, Sills, Brown and McKivitz will all start in some form. It could very well take the first game or two for the fifth spot to solidify.


Defensive End

Will Wotring/The Dominion Post & WVMetroNews

West Virginia Mountaineers defensive end Taijh Alston (12) in practice.

So. Taijh Alston

Jr. Jeffrey Pooler

Sr. Reuben Jones

Nose Tackle

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West Virginia defensive lineman Darius Stills (56).

Jr. Darius Stills

Sr. Brenon Thrift

Fr. Jordan Jefferson

Defensive Tackle

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia Mountaineers defensive lineman Reese Donahue (46) celebrates after recovering a fumble during the third quarter against the Kansas State Wildcats at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.

Sr. Reese Donahue

So. Dante Stills

Sr. Reuben Jones

The stated goal is to have no defensive lineman play more than 40 snaps, though based on his strong camp performance that could be easier said than done with Darius Stills.

Jones, the graduate transfer from Michigan, isn’t a starter yet, but he’s arguably the most versatile player in the group and has the ability to play all three spots if necessary.


Will Wotring/The Dominion Post & WVMetroNews

West Virginia linebacker Zach Sandwisch (31) and tight end Jovani Haskins (84) compete in a drill during spring practice.

Sr. Quondarius Qualls

Jr. Zach Sandwisch

Sr. Adam Hensley

This group will try to hold down the fort for the first four games until Alabama transfer VanDarius Cowan returns from an NCAA-mandated suspension. Keep an eye on true freshman Jared Bartlett, who should steal some snaps in Cowan’s absence.

Middle Linebacker

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West Virginia Mountaineers linebacker Dylan Tonkery (10) signals a play before a snap during the third quarter against the Tennessee Volunteers at Bank of America Stadium.

Jr. Dylan Tonkery

So. Jake Abbott

Sr. Shea Campbell

The official position of West Virginia born-and-bred players. Tonkery is coming back from a groin injury that cut last season short.

Will Linebacker

William Wotring/ The Dominion Post and WV MetroNews

West Virginia Mountaineers linebacker Josh Chandler during the spring game.

So. Josh Chandler

Sr. Deamonte Lindsay

So. Exree Loe

Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning calls Chandler “the next guy-guy,” which seems like Koenningese for “star player.” No one is replacing David Long’s production, but Chandler will probably be the team’s leader in tackles.


William Wotring/The Dominion Post & WVMetroNews

West Virginia Mountaineers safety JoVanni Stewart (9) with teammate Kwantel Raines during practice.

Sr. JoVanni Stewart

R-Fr. Kwantel Raines

Jr. Dante Bonamico

Three very different players allow Koenning to get creative at this unique position, which can call for dropping in coverage, supporting the run or blitzing the quarterback.

Free Safety

William Wotring/The Dominion Post & WVMetroNews

West Virginia secondary coach Jahmile Addae talks with Mountaineers safety Josh Norwood (4) during spring practice on Saturday.

Sr. Josh Norwood

Fr. Tykee Smith

Fr. Kerry Martin

Cat Safety

West Virginia Mountaineers Sean Mahone almost comes down with the interception during the spring game on Saturday.

Jr. Sean Mahone

Jr. Jake Long

So. Noah Guzman

Safety is the most susceptible position on the roster following the spring departure of Kenny Robinson and Derrek Pitts. It will truly take a team effort for a group without much collegiate playing experience at the position.


William Wotring/The Dominion Post & WVMetroNews

West Virginia Mountaineers cornerback Hakeem Bailey (24) during warmups on Thursday at Milan Puskar Stadium.

Sr. Hakeem Bailey

Sr. Keith Washington

Fr. Nicktroy Fortune

Fr. Tae Mayo

Jr. Dreshun Miller

Sr. Devan Wade

True freshmen Fortune and Mayo will be on the field a lot this year. Miller, the highly-rated junior college transfer, should be a regular presence in the rotation when he’s fully recovered from an injury that limited him in camp.


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West Virginia’s Evan Staley (30) kicks an extra point during the second quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Milan Puskar Stadium.


Jr. Evan Staley


Sr. Josh Growden

Punt Returner

Alec Sinkfield

Kickoff Returner

Keith Washington

Sam James

The late arrival of Growden from LSU should give the Mountaineers two of the better specialists in the Big 12. With the inexperience on offense, field position could well be a deciding factor in more than one game.

The return game was still undecided late in camp, so that position may be subject to change early in the season.