Tweaks And Changes To WVU’s Football Roster
Though the Mountaineer football team only was able to practice twice this spring before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all athletic activity on the WVU campus – and most everywhere else in the world for that matter – West Virginia’s current roster does show some changes in comparison to where it was at the beginning of spring drills.
Two players who were on the WVU roster at the start of spring are no longer listed, though neither of those departures is a surprise.
Sophomore quarterback Trey Lowe had entered the transfer portal shortly before spring practice began, and he’s looking for a new school to spend his final three collegiate seasons. Also fullback Logan Thimons has left WVU’s football program to concentrate on academics as he enters physician’s assistant school. Though he has a season of college eligibility remaining, Thimons had said last fall in an interview with the Blue & Gold News that he was likely going to have to bypass his senior season, as a physician’s assistant program is in many ways comparable to med school and takes a great deal of time. Combining that educational effort with major college football is nearly impossible, and Thimons, who earned his undergraduate degree in exercise physiology, decided to concentrate on his future in medicine.
Lowe and Thimons are no longer part of the WVU football teams, but two new walk-ons have joined the Mountaineers.
Melvin Brown (5-10, 210 lbs., RFr.) comes to West Virginia from Atholton High School in Clarksburg, Maryland, which a suburb of Baltimore. He rushed for 118.2 yards per game as a running back for Atholton in 2018. He will play linebacker with the Mountaineers.
Also Russell Tanson (6-2, 265 lbs., Jr.) has transferred to WVU after spending the previous three seasons at Shepherd (W.Va.) University. A native of Alexandria, Virginia, where he attended Hayfield High School, Tanson is a defensive lineman.
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Some of the most notable changes to West Virginia’s football roster did not come in the names but rather in the weights.
Every offseason usually brings about some who lost weight and others who gained it. For most of this year’s Mountaineer players, the difference on scale from the earlier listing to the present one was usually only a few pounds, but some saw a fairly significant change.
Biggest gainers – senior defensive back Alonzo Addae (178 to 192), redshirt freshman linebacker Jared Bartlett (210 to 233), redshirt freshman punter Leighton Bechdel (180 to 207), senior offensive lineman Chase Behrndt (310 to 315), junior quarterback Jarret Doege (198 to 208), sophomore cornerback Nicktroy Fortune (187 to 196), redshirt freshman defensive end Rhett Heston (228 to 238), sophomore defensive lineman Jordan Jefferson (295 to 301), sophomore wide receiver Ali Jennings (181 to 195), sophomore defense lineman Tavis Lee (252 to 258), redshirt freshman running back Tony Mathis (192 to 203), redshirt freshman cornerback Tae Mayo (161 to 181), sophomore center Briason Mays (300 to 308), redshirt freshman punter/kicker Kolton McGhee (174 to 188), sophomore tight end Mike O’Laughlin (250 to 255), junior wide receiver Sean Ryan (198 to 204), sophomore safety Tykee Smith (184 to 202), redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jalen Thornton (260 to 265), redshirt freshman defensive back Tacorey Turner (186 to 204), redshirt freshman offensive lineman Brandon Yates (285 to 306) and redshirt freshmen safety Nick Yoho (189-210).
Biggest Losers – redshirt freshman tight end T.J. Banks (248 down from 253, though he did add an inch in height and is now 6-foot-5), senior quarterback Austin Kendall (214 down from 221), junior defensive lineman Dante Stills (275 down from 295) and senior defensive lineman Darius Stills (282 down from 292)
Also the Mountaineers’ seven early enrollees who joined the team in January now have accurate heights and weights provided by the WVU strength staff – sophomore quarterback Matt Cavallaro (6-0, 196 lbs.), freshman cornerback Jairo Faverus (6-0, 198 lbs.), freshman quarterback Garrett Greene (5-11, 191 lbs.), junior cornerback Jackie Matthews (5-10, 196 lbs.), junior defensive lineman Quay Mays (6-1, 308 lbs.), freshman wide receiver Reese Smith (5-10, 186 lbs.) and senior wide receiver Keion Wakefield (5-9, 182 lbs.).