We’re back again today with another edition of our 2017 Mountaineer football profile series. Today, we’ll take a look at cornerback Corey Winfield, a recent graduate transfer from erstwhile conference rival Syracuse who figures to contribute greatly to the Mountaineers in 2017.
Corey Winfield, CB, No. 20
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
High School: Riverview Gardens HS
How he got to Morgantown
Winfield was a high school wide receiver who initially committed to Northern Illinois before re-opening his commitment as several power five offers landed on his doorstep. He would ultimately pledge to Syracuse where, during his redshirt Freshman season, he would make the jump to the defensive side of the ball as a cornerback and would ultimately stick through the duration of his college career.
Winfield had by far his best season in 2016 in which he recorded 41 tackles and four pass breakups. Those numbers figured to show a marked increase in 2017 as the Orange’s leader in the secondary. However, Winfield’s sudden decision to transfer after suffering injuries during an altercation with a former teammate, left the now college graduate with little time to find a new home where he could spend his remaining year of eligibility. Thankfully, with West Virginia searching for mortar to plug the holes in a defense that lost eight starters from last year’s team, Winfield needed only to take a visit to Morgantown before confirming that he’d found his home among the mountains.
Winfield shows a knack for playing physically, along with displaying considerable athleticism. His highlights prove that much, anyway.
West Virginia is no stranger to featuring transfers in its secondary - Kyzir White, Maurice Fleming, Antonio Crawford and Elijah Battle have all suited up in the last year, respectively. What Winfield figures to bring to the table is enough athleticism and experience to be able to play press coverage off the line and put himself in position to routinely make plays on the ball.
Not that these are things you didn’t already know; Playing in the Big 12 demands that corners must be willing to live and die on an island, as safety help is at a premium given the amount of space that needs to be covered. Granted, Winfield figures to benefit mightily from the presence of both Kyzir White and Dravon Askew-Henry, but, much like Maurice Fleming was able to do last year upon transferring in from Iowa, I see Corey Winfield being a more than serviceable plug-in at corner where he’ll be able to defend a good deal of passes and minimize passing lanes with his combination of size and speed.
For better or worse, Corey Winfield’s season is intertwined with the fortunes of the rest of the West Virginia defense. While the St. Louis native may not be a shut down terror in the mold of a Rasul Douglas, he certainly has the potential to make several big plays for the Mountaineers that could tilt the momentum of big games. It’s also worth mentioning that the former Orange player is the only one listed on the Moutaineers’ roster who has experienced beating a 10 win Virginia Tech team. Don’t think Doug Belk, along with the rest of the West Virginia defense, isn’t busy picking his brain at this very moment.
Should Askew-Henry and White live up to their billing (they’re going to), Winfield, along with secondary brethren Elijah Battle, Hakeem Bailey and Mike Daniels, could be the beneficiary of several broken/contested plays that end up as interceptions. In this sense, I like Winfield being a key 3rd down contributor and occasional threat to blitz off the edge out of disguised coverage. 40-odd tackles on the year to go along with a pair of interceptions should cap off his college career nicely while helping to curtail what could be a maelstrom of passing offense from the nation’s premier league of air- it-out.
Next to be featured is Winfield’s partner-in-crime and fellow transfer, Elijah Battle.