Redshirts Still Available For WVU Half-Dozen Who Have Played
On its 107-man roster this season, West Virginia has 22 scholarship newcomers and 14 first-year walk-ons.
Nine of those – defensive lineman Kenny Bigelow, defensive lineman Jabril Robinson, defensive back Josh Norwood, defensive back Keith Washington, defensive back Barry Moreland, wide receiver Isaiah Esdale, offensive lineman Michael Brown, offensive lineman Joe Brown and linebacker Charlie Benton – were not eligible for redshirts this season, as they had already used up their redshirt opportunities at other schools prior to transferring to WVU this season from either a four-year university or a two-year junior college.
But the other 27 were capable of redshirting this year, and all but three of those still have that redshirt option available heading into the Dec. 28 Camping World Bowl.
Three true freshmen – running back Leddie Brown, linebacker Josh Chandler and defensive lineman Dante Stills – saw regular game action for WVU, and each played in more than four games, which is the maximum now allowed to maintain a redshirt. Brown played in 10 games, while Chandler and Stills both saw action in all 11 regular season contests. So those three cannot redshirt this year.
But there were six other true freshmen who saw some game action this season, but because of the NCAA’s new rule allowing redshirts for those who played in four games or less, each still has a redshirt available.
Three true freshmen scholarship players – receiver Sam James, receiver Bryce Wheaton and safety Kwantel Raines – as well as three true freshmen walk-ons – receiver Kwincy Hall, safety Chase Hill and placekicker Casey Legg – all saw game action this year. James played in three games (Kansas, Iowa State and Oklahoma), while Hall participated in two (Baylor and Oklahoma State). The others played in just one game each. That means all six of those who saw limited action will be able to be redshirted. Even if any play in the bowl game, they still would not exceed the four-game limit.
Fourth-year senior linebacker Quondarius Qualls, who suffered a knee injury in the spring, did not see any game action this season and is eligible for a redshirt, even if he plays in the bowl game, and thus will be able to return to WVU as a fifth-year senior for the 2019 season. Third-year sophomore linebacker Brendan Ferns, who also suffered a knee injury in the spring, came back to participate in the final three regular season games. Though he has already used a medical redshirt earlier in his Mountaineer career, if Ferns would wish to petition the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility later in his career, he still would be capable of doing so because he won’t exceed the four-game limit this season.
Other than Leddie Brown, Chandler and Dante Stills, any of the redshirt-eligible players, even those who have seen no action to this point, could participate in the bowl game without jeopardizing their redshirt status. So if need be, true freshman quarterback Trey Lowe, true freshman tight end T.J. Banks or any of the others could potentially play against Syracuse. That would likely happen only in the case of an injury or two ahead of them at their position group, though.
In all 79 players have seen game action for WVU this season, including 34 who have started at least one contest. Eleven have started all 11 regular season games – safeties Dravon Askew-Henry (who has 50 career starts, equaling the most in West Virginia history) and Kenny Robinson, defensive linemen Kenny Bigelow and Jabril Robinson, offensive linemen Yodny Cajuste, Matt Jones, Colton McKivitz and Josh Sills, linebacker David Long, wide receiver David Sills and quarterback Will Grier.
Four others started 10 games – defensive lineman Reese Donahue, cornerback Josh Norwood, wide receiver Marcus Simms and linebacker JoVanni Stewart – while two started nine – safety Toyous Avery and tight end Trevon Wesco – with two others starting eight – wide receiver Gary Jennings and running back Kennedy McKoy.
Cornerbacks Hakeem Bailey and Keith Washington started six games each, as did offensive guard Isaiah Hardy. Linebackers Dylan Tonkery and Shea Campbell started five games each, as did receiver T.J. Simmons. Offensive lineman Chase Behrndt started three games, while running back Martell Pettaway and defensive lineman Ezekiel Rose started two each. Linebacker Charlie Benton, offensive lineman Joe Brown, wide receiver Dominic Maiden, safety Derrek Pitts, running back Alec Sinkfield and offensive lineman Kelby Wickline each started one game.