Mountaineer Nation is well aware of all the talent that it will have on the defensive side this upcoming season but now it’s starting to gain national attention. Athlon Sports has named WVU as one of the top defensive backfields in the nation as the Mountaineer came in at #7 on the list.
LSU took home the #1 spot in Athlon Sport list but with starting cornerback Jalen Mills out with 4-6 weeks with a fractured fibula their top spot might not be as solid as you think. Florida and Ohio State hold the #2 and #3 spots in the list and both are deserving of the top ranking with Mills out for LSU. Virginia Tech came in at #4 but will need to improve their pass defense drastically to uphold this ranking as the Hokies allowed too many big time pass plays last season to be considered this high on the list. Ole Miss and USC both fell ahead of WVU at #5 and #6 but will not return the talent that WVU will. Ole Miss will have to replace it’s top 2 defensive backs so it could be considered a toss up at #5 and USC at #6 is a head scratcher as the Trojans ranked 115 in pass defense last season. The Mountaineers come in at #7 with all 5 returning starters to their defensive backfield.
WVU will feature arguably the top safety combination with Dravon Askew-Henry and Karl Joseph, both of which are on All American lists. KJ Dillon will command the SPUR position in the 3-3-5 defense and is considered one of the most underrated players with Daryl Worley and Terrell Chestnut being the starting corners. Also don’t forget the depth that WVU will feature at the cornerback position once Rasul Douglas is able to get caught up after getting a late start during the offseason.
Joseph is considered one of the hardest hitting defenders in the country and Henry will on the way to becoming one the top safeties in the country. Worley was suspended for two games last season but still was a leader on the Mountaineers defense with 3 interceptions and is considered to be a shut down corner for WVU this season. Chestnut and Dillon are underrated pieces of this defense that could become household names in the Big 12 by season’s end.
While it’s an honor that WVU is ranked as high as they are on this list by Athlon Sports, the Mountaineers defensive backfield along with coordinator Tony Gibson will be out to show the country that they were disrespected they weren’t ranked #1.
You can read the full Athlon Sports article HERE