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West Virginia Football 2016 Player Previews: Xavier Preston

Coaches have previously raved about Xavier Preston. The former Florida linebacker has seen the highs and lows of college football and now eyes a starting position in 2016.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

2015 Season Stats & Review

Tackles Sacks Tackles for Loss Interceptions Quarterback Hits Forced Fumbles Fumble Recoveries
18 0 3 0 1 0 0

Preston saw his first action as a freshman against Alabama in 2014. His only play of the game came with the game tied 10-10 as he met TJ Yeldon at the goaline. Yeldon won the matchup but it left Preston with a desire to improve and get better.

Despite only being a sophomore in 2015, entering fall camps, coaches were raving about Xavier Preston. Tony Gibson and Dana Holgorsen all admitted that the three starting linebackers would be the three seniors (Barber, Kwiatkoski, and Petteway) but Preston was some of their main competition. Gibson went as far to say "He's going to be as good as we've ever had here". High praise indeed.

Preston saw the field for all thirteen games in 2015 but only saw time in a backup role. In that time he amassed 18 tackles including 3 tackles-for-loss.

2016 Outlook

It was assumed that Preston would win one of the starting linebacker positions entering the 2016 season. The preseason depth chart was recently released showing Preston behind Justin Arndt for the SAM linebacker position. It appears there will be a competition throughout summer and fall for the position. Preston has good size at 6'-2" and 230 pounds. He's played in 22 games so far in his college career while spending time backing up senior linebackers in Tony Gibson's 3-3-5 defensive scheme. Given that he got to learn behind Nick Kwiatkoski, a 5th round selection of the Chicago Bears, Preston has a lot to live up to.

Projected 2016 Stats

Tackles Sacks Tackles for Loss Interceptions Quarterback Hits Forced Fumbles Fumble Recoveries
60 3 10 2 4 1 2