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2016 West Virginia Football Position Previews: Safeties

The Mountaineer safeties look to keep a hard-hitting reputation after the departure of Karl Joseph to the NFL, and the loss of Dravon Askew-Henry to a knee injury.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Mountaineers boast a total of 18 safeties on its 2016 roster. That might come in handy knowing what West Virginia had to suffer through with the injury of its cornerstone safety, Karl Joseph, early last season.  Things didn't get any better earlier this month when Dravon Askew-Henry fell to an ACL injury.

Mountaineer nation just holds it's breath it doesn't get worse.


The starters are going to be led by two guys that have a lot of potential. One is the 6-3, 221-pound brother of former WVU wide receiver Kevin White, Kyzir White. If we're judging by his JUCO highlights, Kyzir loves to hit. Maybe not to the level of which Joseph could lay the boom, but, he might be someone who could keep the Mountaineers' hard-hitting reputation alive and well.

Starting partner, Jarrod Harper has a wealth of experience having played in 38 games as a Mountaineer. Nine of his 13 appearances in 2015 were starts after having to fill in for an injured Karl Joseph. A tough task that he took and ran with.

The starters are topped off by Jeremy Tyler, a 5-11, 207 pound Senior who appeared in 12 games in 2015 as a depth safety.


Kyzir White will be backed up by Marvin Gross Jr. who is more experienced as a Mountaineer than White with 24 appearances. Not bad for reasons of depth.

Another JUCO transfer, Toyous Avery, will back up Jeremy Tyler and Khairi Shariff will be backing up Jarrod Harper.

Eight other safeties on the roster are either freshman or redshirt freshman. Morgantown, West Viriginia's own Shane Commodore is the only other Mountaineer safety with playing experience making five appearances as a redshirt sophomore last season.


Much like the cornerback position, which I wrote about here, the West Virginia Safeties have some uncertainties with some of its starters and backups having none or very limited experience playing as a Mountaineer. It's hard to imagine a 6-3, 221 pound hard-hitting safety who comes from an extremely athletically talented family disappoints. However, there are more pieces to the puzzle than just Kyzir White. Having Marvin Gross Jr. be a backup is promising with his experience level.

There's plenty room for the safeties to thrive under defensive coordinator Tony Gibsons defense. Believe me, there will be a fair share of awe-inspiring hits.