MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Because of COVID-19, the 2020 football season was one like no other. It saw games postponed and canceled, empty or near empty football stadiums, media sessions via zoom and all the social distancing techniques that were implemented.
It was a difficult season for everyone but it gave West Virginia senior Alonzo Addae and others another year of eligibility if they wanted it.
For Addae returning for his sixth season was the right thing to do.
“West Virginia has done so much for me,” he said. “Being able to pour my knowledge and experience into the younger guys and get them ready for years to come. Personally, this decision was based off the fact that I barely got that season last year. Obviously, with me coming in here and having to sit out my first season because of the transfer rules. Having the extra year to put more on film and take my game to another level was a big part of my decision to come back.”
During the 2020 season, the Pickering, Ontario native often mirrored resemblance to his older cousin and former Mountaineer Jahmille. Alonzo played in 10 games and recorded 66 tackles, 38 solo, 2 interceptions and seven passes defended.
Despite a successful first season for WVU, the 5-foot-10, 190-pound safety didn’t quite meet his own expectations, leaving him yearning to return and leave his mark.
“I set high expectations for myself. I know the previous year,” he said. “I put in a lot of work. I expected my hard work to pay off. I had high expectations and honestly, I didn’t reach all the goals that I wanted to last season so that was also part of me coming back, just trying to take my game to another level, especially with my knowledge of the game and just being able to be a vessel to my teammates. Be able to spread the knowledge that I have to the younger guys and help who ever needs help.”
Over the winter, the Mountaineers had several changes amongst the coaching staff and the athletes. With all the new faces Alonzo and the rest of the secondary have a chance to learn some new positions.
The St. Mary’s High School graduate is using that opportunity to develop his game.
“If the coach ask me to play cat safety, I am going to play cat. If he asks me to play spear, I’m going to play spear. If he asks me to play corner, I’m going to play corner. Where ever the coaches need me to be at, I’ll be at,” he said. “I’m taking reps at cat and spear this spring. I’m just trying to expand my knowledge of the game, being able to know what the other two safeties is helping me when I go back to free or when I’m at free it will help me even more.”
That attitude resembles one of a veteran leader and a team player and is one of the reasons for Alonzo’s success.
Having six years of experience on the field has allowed Alonzo to step into that leader role. He and running back Leddie Brown are looked upon as the voices and teachers for the younger guys.
The two meet with head coach Neal Brown weekly because of their roles on the team.
“As an older guy on the defense, I’m looking to set an example for everybody else on the field,” Alonzo said. “A lot of the younger guys, I remember being in that position where I’m coming in as a freshman or sophomore or whatever the case may be and looking up to the older guys. I’m a sixth year senior at this point so I have no excuse. I know what is expected. I know what we need to do. I’m looking to show the guys what needs to be done day in and day out. “
WVU continues spring practice over the next couple weeks and the spring game returns April 24 at 1 p.m. at Milan Puskar Stadium.