Tag Archives: West Virginia Mountaineers

Wise beyond his years

DraftNasty's Corey Chavous sat down with former Kansas Jayhawks star defensive lineman Daniel Wise for a Q&A during the week of the 2019 East-West Shrine game to talk about the Wise last name, family lineage and what it meant to be a Jayhawk.

Q&A with Kansas DL Daniel Wise

Corey: What about this week (2019 East-West Shrine Game) and what it represents for you and the Kansas program?

Wise: It's huge for me to be able to just represent the University of Kansas. Throughout everything I'm doing at the Shrine hospital, on the field, having that Jayhawk on my helmet means a lot to me.

Corey: I know the team success wasn't what you may have hoped for during your career but individually you've been very productive the last three seasons. When you think about how you've been able to work the edges of guards and tackles by being slippery. Talk about your technique and what has allowed you to become that type of player.

Wise: My work ethic, my routine in the summer, my workouts, guys I train with, my teammates. Picking up things from them (teammates) and picking up things from my coaches. My dad (former NFL player Deatrich Wise, Sr.), my No. 1 coach, and my older brother (New England Patriots DL Deatrich, Jr.). Always being around football and always watching football.

Daniel's older brother, Deatrich, Jr. (No. 99 pictured), was a participant in the 2017 East-West Shrine Game and has since gone on to post 9.5 quarterback sacks in two seasons with the New England Patriots.

Corey: We actually spent time with your brother here at the East-West Shrine game a couple of years ago. What has his success meant for you in continuing on that family lineage?

Wise: It's huge for me to be able to follow his footsteps at the East-West Shrine game and hopefully one day maybe with him or wherever I go. But to be able to enter the league with him, it's been a journey.

Corey: What type of scheme do you think you fit best in? You've been a four-technique, five-technique and three-technique. You can line up in the reduced front over the center. What do you think is your best position to start at?

Wise: Just the experience that I got playing at the University of Kansas in a 4-3 and 3-4, playing all up and down the line. It has given me a lot of experience on the line. Can play just about anywhere on the line confidently. But I think I earn my best money at the three-technique.

Former Kansas defensive lineman Daniel Wise (No. 96 pictured) posted 151 tackles, 18.5 quarterback sacks, 44 tackles for loss (2nd in school history) and blocked three kicks during his time as a Jayhawk.

Corey: It's funny, when your brother was coming out, we asked him the exact same question. Because at Arkansas he was playing up-and-down the defensive front.

Wise: Yes sir, yes sir. That's right.

Corey: So I guess the family lineage spreads to positional versatility. Toughest opponent in school?

Wise: My toughest opponent in school I'd say would have to go to No. 55 at West Virginia.

Corey: Cajuste (Yodny).

Wise: Yeah...Cajuste. He was a good athlete. His ability to adjust. His hands and his feet. He was a nice athlete, nice guy to go against.

Corey: If an NFL scout wanted your best game of your career what would it be? I know one game I watched two years ago against Texas (2016)...in Kansas.

Wise: Yeah, when we beat 'em. I feel like that's one of my best games. Yes sir.

Corey: Give me another one.

Wise: Texas again this year. The West Virginia game (2018). The West Virginia game is kind of what sparked the season for me.

Corey: Best of luck. Enjoyed watching you play and good luck in the NFL.

Wise: Thank you.

West Virginia vs. Tennessee, 9-1-18: In-game report

In a heavily anticipated non-conference battle in Charlotte, North Carolina, West Virginia strong-armed Tennessee in the trenches, en route to a 40-14 victory.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

7 Will Grier (6'2, 223) West Virginia QB-Senior

Grier, pictured, went over the 300-yard passing mark for the 10th time as a Mountaineer.

Will Grier, West Virginia’s Heisman candidate, didn’t disappoint. The senior completed 25-of-34 passes for 429 yards and five touchdowns.  Grier (6’2, 223) showed a natural feel in the pocket and looked like a quarterback who knew what he wanted to do snap-to-snap.  His patience shined throughout the game.  Perhaps his best throw of the afternoon came on a fade to senior wide receiver Gary Jennings Jr. (6’2, 215), pictured left, where he placed the ball perfectly to the receiver's outside shoulder for a touchdown.  The senior enjoyed strong pass protection and only helped himself by being able to avoid the rush with his quick feet.  However, Grier would be better served at the next level if he’s able to develop the ability “to climb” in the pocket rather than shuffle from side-to-side, like he did on too many occasions against the Volunteers.  All things considered, he put together a performance worthy of a player who many pundits believe will be one of the better quarterbacks in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft.

18 David Sills V (6'4, 210) West Virginia WR-Senior

For the eighth time over the course of the last two seasons, Sills V registered at least two receiving touchdowns in a game.

All good quarterbacks need a receiver who can make plays. For Grier, that receiver is Sills V.  Sills V used his size “to box out corners", making it hard for the Volunteers secondary to work against him. The senior wide receiver also showed he can run the complete route tree and bend his knees/ upper body to get in-and-out of his breaks. The former Mountaineers signal-caller finished the afternoon with seven catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns.

9 Tim Jordan (5’11, 230) Tennessee RB-Sophomore

Jordan was one of the lone bright spots for the Volunteers, who looked inept on offense.  Jordan, only a sophomore, was able to use outside carries off tackle to rack up 118 rushing yards on 20 carries. He broke a run outside to score a touchdown in the third quarter. Jordan had a good game but the Tennessee offensive line will have to improve in both the pass and run blocking departments to compete in the SEC.

Mountaineers defense

West Virginia’s defense was aggressive from the jump.  Senior defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow (6’4 307), a former USC Trojan, started off the game with a quick rip move to derail a run up the middle on the first play of the contest.  On the next drive, Bigelow once again beat a Volunteers interior lineman off the snap to record a tackle for loss. He finished the contest with two tackles for loss and one forced fumble.  The Mountaineers defense went about 20 players deep and used various defensive packages to stifle the Volunteers, especially on third downs.  On the outside, West Virginia used a lot of man coverage and did it quite effectively.  The Mountaineers allowed Tennessee to convert on just 35-percent of its third down attempts (5-of-14), while allowing a paltry 301 yards of total offense (172 passing yards, 129 rushing yards). 

2018 Season Preview: West Virginia Mountaineers

Season outlook

Dana Holgorsen's eighth year at the helm in Morgantown has a chance to be his best. The Mountaineers will return a high-flying offense that averaged 34.5 points per game last season, which was 22nd-best in the NCAA.  Senior quarterback Will Grier and senior wide receiver David Sills (6'4, 210 ) are a dangerous combo.  Grier passed for 3,490 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2017 while Sills caught 18 of those touchdowns while posting 980 receiving yards. The Grier-Sills connection gets a lot of talk, and rightfully so, but junior wide receiver Marcus Simms (6'0, 194) is a speedy threat who can also help out in the return game.  Last season, Simms caught 35 passes for 663 yards and averaged 26 yards per kick return.  On defense, senior safety Dravon Askew-Henry (6'0, 203) returned from a season-ending knee injury in 2016 to rack up four pass deflections and 57 tackles in 2017.

Troy's player to watch

7 Will Grier 6'2 223 QB-Senior
Grier made a strong impression during his first season in Morgantown.  The Florida transfer completed 64-percent of his passes and will enter this season as a front runner for the Heisman trophy.  He has good feet in the pocket and a quick release, which makes him a perfect fit in West Virginia's offense.  The Mountaineers signal caller did throw seven interceptions during a four-game stretch to end the season.  If Grier can cut down on the turnovers and continue to move the ball efficiently, then he will have a chance at being a first round pick in next April's NFL Draft.

Game of the season

November 23rd against Oklahoma
West Virginia has never appeared in a Big 12 Championship game and the team usually standing in their way is the Oklahoma Sooners.  This year is no different. The Mountaineers will play Oklahoma at home the last week of the season. Last season, the Sooners defeated West Virginia 59-31.  With major turnover at Oklahoma and West Virginia returning a number of seniors, this year's matchup could be a little tighter.

DraftNasty's Prospect Watch

6 Dravon Askew-Henry 6’0 200 SPUR-Senior

Askew-Henry (No. 6 pictured) posted 45 tackles, two interceptions and a touchdown during a Freshman All-American campaign in 2014.

Askew-Henry has displayed adequate range in the middle of the field to get all the way to the sidelines (ECU '17).  He takes above average cross-field angles.  As the team's spur (OLB-Nickel), he's heavily involved in the running game but also has covered slot receivers.  His injury history -as was referenced earlier- is a bit of a concern.   In addition, he has not always kept his feet in some open field tackling situations.  The former Freshman All-American can take a big leap this season with a healthy, productive senior campaign.

Prediction: 11-1

Draftnasty's Troy Jefferson is predicting the Mountaineers will lose their first game of the season against Tennessee in Charlotte and go undefeated from then on out. The 11 wins would set a school-record for Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia and put the Mountaineers in the College Football Playoff discussion. A win in the Big 12 Championship game could be the final piece of the resume'.

2017 Heart of Dallas Bowl Photo Gallery: West Virginia vs Utah, 12-26-17

2017 Heart of Dallas Bowl preview: Utah vs WVU, 12-26-17

The Heart of Dallas Bowl will feature two teams with explosive offenses that underwhelmed in their respective conferences.

Utah (3-6, 6-6) will match up against West Virginia (5-4, 7-5) in Dallas on Tuesday.

The Mountaineers will be without transfer quarterback Will Grier, who is out with an injured finger.  The Mountaineers will also be without running back Justin Crawford, who is entering the draft and will sit out.

The Utes resume lacks a signature victory but they did defeat short-handed UCLA in November and could have similar success against the Mountaineers, who will be without two key offensive pieces.

Utah has won 13 of its past 14 bowl games.

Players to watch

West Virginia

13 David Sills V WR-Junior

Crawford and Grier combined for over 4,500 yards worth of yardage during the regular season. Junior wide receiver, David Sills, who led the team with 18 touchdowns, will have to shoulder the load if his team has any chance of winning. Sills, 6'4, 203 lbs., will be targeted early and often by backup quarterback Chris Chugunov.

3 Al-Rasheed Benton LB-Senior

Al-Rasheed Benton ranks at the top or near the top in every statistical category for the Mountaineers defense. Benton led the team with 73 solo tackles (102 total) and finished second with two interceptions, a forced fumble and three quarterback sacks.  He has 18 career tackles for losses.

Utah

9 Darren Carrington II WR-Senior

Senior Utes receiver Darren Carrington will suit up one more time in his collegiate career, which spans back to three years at Oregon. Carrington, 6'3 205 lbs, feasted on early non-conference opponents and against his former team.  Despite having not recorded a single 100-yard receiving game since that matchup versus the Ducks, he enters the bowl game with 66 receptions for 918 yards and six touchdowns.

23 Julian Blackmon DB-Sophomore

Utah's sophomore defensive back Julian Blackmon covers a lot of ground and is equally strong against the run as he is against the pass. Blackmon finished the season with 36 solo tackles and two interceptions. The Heart of Dallas Bowl could be a sneak preview for the future NFL prospect.

Prediction: Utah 34 West Virginia 23

WVU’s Morgantown Shuffle: “Double-barreled”

West Virginia's spectacular duo of WR-PR Tavon Austin and WR-KR Stedman Bailey put on spectacular performances in 2012.  The former Mountaineer teammates both heard their names called by the St. Louis Rams in the 2013 NFL Draft to become teammates one more time.  While they didn't play long together in St. Louis, the images of their time in Morgantown may never be duplicated.