clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

West Virginia Football: Rapid reactions to the official preseason depth chart

Some quick takeaways from West Virginia’s first official preseason depth chart

NCAA Football: Big 12 Media Days Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

2022 Preseason Depth Chart - Offense


JT Daniels OR Will Crowder OR Nicco Marciol OR Garrett Greene

Predictably non-committal from the staff here, but I think we all expect Daniels to secure QB1 by the time the season rolls around.

Running Backs

Tony Mathis Jr. -> Justin Johnson Jr. -> Jaylen Anderson

Mathis has taken the RB1 spot and made it his own, while Johnson and Jaylen showed during the spring enough to run Clemson transfer Lyn-J Dixon out of town. I wouldn’t hate adding one more body to this room before the season, but I feel really good about the three guys we have.

Wide Receivers

X - Bryce Ford-Wheation -> Cortez Braham

Z - Kaden Prather -> Preston Fox -> Jarel Williams

H - Reese Smith -> Graeson Malashevich

Y - Sam James -> Jeremiah Aaron

The surprise for me here is seeing Smith over Sam James at the H, as that is Harrell’s “slot” position. However, it’s not an unpleasant one, as I’ve long argued that James is miscast as a slot receiver due to his stature and that Smith has the best skill set on the team for the role. This switch figures to get the best out of both players by freeing up James to move all over the formation and attack defenses from a variety of different angles.

Tight End

Brian Polendey -> Mike O’Laughlin

Polendey usurps the starting job here with O’Laughlin still working his way back from an injury, but I have to think that he’ll reclaim TE1 if he’s healthy for the season opener.

Offensive Line

LT - Wyatt Milum -> Nick Malone

LG - James Gmiter -> Tomas Rimac

C - Zach Frazier -> Jordan White

RG - Doug Nestor -> Tomas Rimac

RT - Brandon Yates OR Ja’Quay Hubbard

Four of these spots have been set in stone since January, but I expect the battle at RT to continue into the season. I will say that LOVE seeing Rimac at both guard spots - I think he and White are going to be good ones once they get their chance.

2022 Preseason Depth Chart - Defense

Defensive Line

DE - Taihj Alston -> Sean Martin -> Taurus Simmons

DT - Dante Stills -> Jalen Thornton -> Zeiqui Lawton

NG - Jordan Jefferson -> Mike Lockhart -> Edward Vesterinen

I thought we might see Hammond Russell crack into the two-deep based on some of the rumblings we heard over the spring, but all in all this is pretty much what I expected.


Jared Bartlett OR Lanell Carr

Both of these guys have been OK when they’ve been on the field for us, but you’d really love to see one of them take a step forward and make this spot their own.


Mike - Lee Kpogba -> Tirek Austin-Cave

Will - Lance Dixon -> Exree Loe

My thoughts about the starting duo are well-documented, and I’m all the way in on the group as whole. I think they have a chance to be the best in the Big 12 and can’t wait to watch them play together.


LCB - Andrew Wilson-Lamp -> Wesley McCormick

RCB - Charles Woods -> Rashad Ajayi

I wouldn’t say that Ajayi and McCormick necessarily raise our ceiling (that’s up to freshmen Jacoby Spells and Mumu Bin Wahad), but having the pair of them on campus makes me feel about 1000x better about our floor. As for the starters, Woods was our best defensive player over the second half of 2021 and AWL’s ascendance was one of the most intriguing outcomes of spring ball. It’s hard to believe this room is in as good of shape as it is considering the transfer attrition in the early part of the spring.


Free - Aubrey Burks -> Hershey McLaurin

Cat - Marcis Floyd -> Malachi Ruffin

Spear - Davis Mallinger -> Jasir Cox OR Naim Muhammad

Burks and Mallinger retain their starting jobs on the preseason 2-deep after encouraging spring performances. You wouldn’t be surprised to see either lose their job to transfers Hershey McLaurin or Jasir Cox, but they showed me enough to be confident that they’re going to make the new boys work for it. Floyd seems locked in as the starter at the Cat, but don’t be surprised to see someone like the aforementioned Spells or Cristion Stokes climb into the backup role by the time fall camp ends - both of those guys are very highly touted and are just getting their feet under them.

2022 Preseason Depth Chart - Special Teams


Casey Legg -> Parker Grothaus

Legg retains his role as the place kicker while Grothaus will handle kickoff duties. Grothaus could low-key be one of the most important additions to the team after last year’s disastrous kickoff situation.


Ollie Straw

Straw walks into the starting role as a true freshman aussie-style kicker. Will interesting to see how that looks.


Sam James -> Jaylen Anderson


Sam James -> Davis Mallinger

I’m excited to see what James can do as the primary kick and punt returner. He’s one of the fastest dudes on the team and has been our most consistent big play threats since the moment he walked on campus.


Austin Brinkman


Graeson Malashevich