When Arizona linebacker Tony Fields II announced his intention to enter the transfer portal in mid-July, he immediately became one of the most sought after prospects on the graduate transfer market. The 6'1 220-pound linebacker was a 3-star teal chip recruit coming out of HS back in 2016 but was a Freshman All-American in 2017 and started all 37 of his games at Arizona, totalling 287 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks across three seasons.
West Virginia was one of a number of teams in pursuit of his services, but it increasingly looked like we might lose out to conference rival Texas. However, when the time came on Monday, a now-customary "Let's go!" from Neal Brown let Mountaineer Nation know that Fields had made the right decision.
Committed to West Virginia University. #TrustTheClimb pic.twitter.com/qIBAS6lY14— Tony Fields II (@T_Fields1) August 11, 2020
Fields cited a couple of factors that weighed into his decision to follow those country roads home to Morgantown. The first was his relationship with co-DC Jahmile Addae, who recruited him to Arizona back in 2016. Addae's promotion and the similarities between schemes made Fields feel like he'll be able to hit the ground running in what will be a make-or-break year for him with regards to his future in football.
He also expressed excitement about the idea of teaming up with current Mountaineers Darius and Dante Stills, saying "I don’t want to be just another guy. I want to be able to stand out. That’s why I’m looking close at things like the d-linemen, the people I work with. For instance, West Virginia has those two Stills brothers that are pretty good... That’s one of the biggest factors right there, the d-linemen on the team, because without good d-line playing linebacker is pretty hard."
As for where he fits into the unit that West Virginia will field in 2020 (provided it happens), you have to think that Fields will immediately be in contention for one of the starting linebacker jobs. The Mountaineers have a number of serviceable options at both the Mike and Will, but really only Josh Chandler-Semedo has shown the potential to be much more than that at this point. At the very least, Fields gives us experience and three years of high-level production - he's someone who will undoubtedly improve our linebacker rotation and should continue the recent trend of getting impact performances from graduate transfers.