Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be taking a look at each position group and giving our way-too-early depth chart projections. Today, we move onto the defensive ends.
Starter - Taijh Alston
Alston has had a tough go of it during his WVU career as he has dealt with some pretty serious injuries that have cost him to miss several games. He has never been able to fully show what he is capable of but when he has been healthy the coaching staff has had some encouraging things to say about him. Given that he is healthy, Alston should be in line to earn a starting spot, especially following the departure of Jeffery Pooler Jr who transferred to Northwestern.
2nd string - Lanell Carr or Taurus Simmons
Carr is probably the team's best pure pass rusher that isn't named Akheem Mesidor or Dante Stills. Carr came to WVU expecting to play the BANDIT but head coach Neal Brown said that he has grown into more of a defensive line body so they will utilize him with his hand in the dirt. That move probably works out best for him so he can focus on causing havoc in the backfield and not worry about dropping back in pass coverage from time to time.
Like Carr, Simmons grew into a defensive end type of body. When he arrived at WVU, he had a pretty thin frame but after being in Mike Joseph's strength program for a year, he has added a lot of healthy weight. Simmons is a talented pass rusher but is also fairly reliable in stopping the run. Look for both Carr and Simmons to get their feet wet in 2021.
3rd/4th string - Hammond Russell IV
Russell has a lot of raw strength and power. Within the next year or maybe even sooner, we could see him make the move to defensive tackle. He's a decent pass rusher but not quite on the level of Carr and Simmons who sit ahead of him. However, he is a very solid run defender that can clog up holes up front.
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