The 2017 Mountaineer football profile series continues with defensive players this week. Adam Shuler has big shoes to fill as the Mountaineers must replace all three defensive linemen. Shuler filled in well as a freshman and will now be asked to handle the main duties.
Adam Shuler, DE, #88
Year: Sophomore (Redshirt)
Hometown: Longwood, FL
High School: Lyman High School
How he got to Morgantown
Shuler was recruited by former defensive coordinator turned special teams coach Joe DeForest. Shuler was a consensus three-star prospect across all of the recruiting sites. He was lightly recruited due to injuries suffered during his senior season.
As a redshirt freshman, Shuler backed up Noble Nwachukwu. Shuler made an immediate impact, recording 6 tackles, five solo and forcing a fumble in his first collegiate game against Missouri. As a backup freshman, Shuler recorded 33 tackles, 18 solo, forced a fumble and recorded a sack.
When you back up a player like Noble Nwachukwu, you aren’t going to get many opportunities, but Shuler did record a sack against Baylor in the Big 12 finale last year. In the first quarter, Shuler, who is at the bottom of the line on this play, rushes upfield as the tackle sets back in his stance. Shuler reads the quarterback and simply darts inside to record the sack before the tackle can even get his hands on Shuler.
Shuler has prototypical size for a defensive end playing the 5-technique. Defensive ends in 3-player fronts aren’t asked to be the splash playmakers, but they are asked to do the dirty work. They are required to be strong against the run while occupying the tackle. Shuler, standing at 6’-4” and weighing close to 270 pounds is NFL size ready for someone like Pittsburgh.
For the Mountaineers, Shuler will need to be able to play 75 snaps a game and give Tony Gibson the ability to use his linebackers to disguise their blitzes.
Doing the dirty work for Gibson and the defense doesn’t mean Shuler can’t rack up a few splash plays. Shuler should be stouter against the run given his long frame and could easily see 55+ tackles. As defenses have to pass to keep up with the West Virginia offense, Shuler should pick up 3-5 sacks with most coming later in the games when Gibson and the Mountaineers know teams will be passing.
The 2017 Mountaineer profile series will continue to feature defensive players throughout the week.