The 2017 Mountaineer football profile series continues with defensive players this week. Xavier Pegues is the senior most defensive lineman on the team and plays the position with the greatest importance to a 3-front defense.
Xavier Pegues, DT, #99
Year: Senior (Redshirt)
Hometown: Oxford, MS
High School: Oxford High School
Junior College: Itawamba Community College
How he got to Morgantown
Xavier Pegues blossomed right under the nose of the Ole Miss Rebels. He was named the Mississippi 5A Defense Player of the Year in 2012, leading Oxford High to second round of the State 5A Playoffs and a #22 ranking.
Pegues enrolled at Itawamba Community College and registered 61 tackles, 41 solo, 15 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles. Pegues was recruited by JaJuan Seider and held offers from both Cal and Iowa State before choosing the Mountaineers.
Pegues redshirted his first year in 2015. He suffered a shoulder injury that required offseason surgery and was not available until the second half of last year.
Unfortunately for the Pegues, and the rest of the defensive tackles, none have taken a Division I snap. So there are no highlights. Here are some highlights from his time at Itawamba CC.
Right now the defensive tackle position is completely up in the air. Pegues is the most experienced on the team and has every opportunity to win the starting role. Pegues is lighter than the ideal nose tackle, who must face centers and guards every game. Vince Wilfork is the ideal and Vince played at 323 pounds at Miami.
While Pegues doesn’t have ideal size, he does have the quickness to be disruptive in the backfield. Pegues can certainly alter a game if he can get in the backfield and stop a running back before he has the chance to get upfield.
Pegues wins the nose guard job and becomes a monster on the inside. His quickness is too much for offensive lines and he leads the team in sacks and tackles for a loss. As teams begin to take notice and focus their efforts on double teaming the quicker tackle, defensive ends Adam Shuler and Reese Donahue are able to make plays at the line of the scrimmage. In the season finale against Oklahoma, Pegues splits a double team to sack Baker Mayfield twice, causing a fumble which is recovered by David Long, sealing the Mountaineers first victory over the Sooners.
The 2017 Mountaineer profile series will continue to feature defensive players throughout the week.