MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Junior offensive lineman Jacob Buccigrossi’s injury-plagued football career at West Virginia is over.
Buccigrossi will retire and finish out his academic career on a medical hardship scholarship. An interior lineman who played both center and guard, Buccigrossi played 150 snaps in 2018 but missed spring practice after undergoing surgeries on both shoulders. The Pittsburgh native previously went under the knife and had to sit out his redshirt freshman season in 2017.
“Great kid, great family. Just a run of bad luck,” said West Virginia coach Neal Brown. “Two shoulder surgeries at once. For long-term health, he thought that was the best option for him.”
Buccigrossi’s No. 78 is now being worn by Daniel Buchanan, a sophomore walk-on from Mingo Central High School.
Freshman OL Yates in camp
Brandon Yates is in, while Osita Smith and Rashean Lynn are out.
The trio were the only remaining members of West Virginia’s 2019 signing class who had not enrolled in school this summers. Yates, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound offensive lineman who finished high school in Las Vegas after being raised in Delaware, was in attendance at WVU’s first fall practice Friday.
Smith and Lynn, both safeties, did not make it into school.
“Osita Smith and Rashean Lynn are going the junior college route,” Brown said.
The loss of Smith stings a safety room already dealing with the loss of two expected starters (Kenny Robinson, Derrek Pitts) after spring practice. The four-star prospect was rated as the top player in West Virginia’s class by the composite rating of all the major recruiting services.
The Mountaineers added junior college safety Noah Guzman late in the summer and moved Josh Norwood from cornerback to safety, but remain two bodies short of what they were hoping for at the position.
“We’re a work-in-progress at safety,” Brown said. “Those guys are really hungry. Intelligent football players, but unproven. Norwood’s played a lot of football, but this is his first time playing at safety.
“It’s going to be a growing process. They’re going to need every one of those 25 practices we get to have during fall camp.”