Redshirt sophomore bandit linebacker Jared Bartlett has made his presence felt against Big 12 offenses and will bring back a level of experience to an already veteran WVU defense.
In 2019, Bartlett spent his first year in Morgantown by redshirting, though he got action in four games. Once the 2020 COVID season rolled around, Bartlett’s efforts were needed in all 10 games. In Bartlett’s redshirt freshman season, he registered 19 tackles, and was second on the team in sacks with 3.5.
In 2021, Bartlett came back with another strong season, recording 31 total tackles and another season with 3.5 sacks. Bartlett really came up big in WVU’s gold-rush rivalry win against Virginia Tech. Against the Hokies, Bartlett made five tackles and three sacks, while forcing a fumble in the fourth quarter.
On Wednesday, Bartlett spoke with the media on what his position can bring to the table.
“I would say the perfect bandit is someone who can rush and affect the quarterback, someone who can drop back and affect the pass game, someone who can fit the run, someone who can set the edge,” Bartlett said. “It’s like a mixture of a defensive end, an inside linebacker, and a nickel.”
Bartlett’s thorough description of the bandit position shows that he has a knowledge of how important he is to the defense in trying to stop high-caliber Big 12 offenses.
When asked if he enjoys playing the complex bandit position, Bartlett didn’t hesitate.
“I love it,” Bartlett said. “It’s fun sacking the quarterback.”
Obviously, Bartlett has his share of experience with sacking quarterbacks, as he has seven sacks in two years. Though Bartlett has seen success in his two full seasons with WVU, it’s fair to say the consistency needs to improve for him to make a big jump.
Bartlett has had his share of big games such as the Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, and TCU games, but there are also a handful of games where Bartlett’s presence wasn’t felt as much. Bartlett was only in his second full season last year, so you can expect a player like him to make that jump and be a staple for the Mountaineer defense.
Here’s what Bartlett had to say on the subject of consistency.
“The way I’ve been practicing lately, is taking it day by day,” Bartlett said. “Once you establish consistency and continue to play at a high level, good things happen, so that’s just my mindset right now.”
Photo by Dale Sparks, All Pro Photography