West Virginia's defense will return seven of 11 starters from a unit that finished in the top five of nearly every defensive category in 2020. However, there is one weakness on that side of the ball - linebacker. Dylan Tonkery and Tony Fields II have both graduated and many of the other options defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley can use are body types that better fit the BANDIT or have molded into defensive ends.
With only two weeks of spring ball remaining, the WVU staff needed to establish more depth in the linebacker room and did so by moving redshirt freshman wide receiver Devell Washington over to play the WILL linebacker spot.
"We did that coming after the break. That was something that Devell came to us with and wanted to try from a body standpoint and the ability to help us and I think he can do that," WVU head coach Neal Brown said to reporters on Saturday. "He had an interception in the scrimmage today. He's got good awareness as far as playing defensively. We really first noticed that he had the attributes to play defense on special teams in the fall. On our scout teams for special teams, he did a really good job on kickoff, on punt, punt return, and then he came to us right as we were going into the break and we made that decision coming out of the break to play him at WILL. He got a bunch of snaps today. Our numbers are low at that position and Exree [Loe] was out because he was sick, so that allowed Devell to have quite a few reps."
West Virginia will still keep their eyes on the transfer portal to see if they can get additional help at linebacker but this move alone has seemed to have given the coaching staff a small sigh of relief.
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