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smackemz

[2023] WVU Releases Opening Week Depth Chart

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QB Martin Lake at a team's recent practice

 

Morgantown - Coach smackemz released the depth chart for the upcoming season opening game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.  The Mountaineers are looking to build off a 6 win campaign during the 2022 season which saw them lose a closely contested battle to LSU in postseason play.  We have analyzed the depth chart and are providing some highlights below. 

 

Mike Freeman wins the starting running back job - True freshman Mike Freeman (RB Mike Freeman 5-10 229 Fr Manchester (Midlothian VA) 3.0 of 4.5 [Power]) parlayed his excellent spring game performance into an opening day start.  Freeman was able to grind out over 100 yards and over 5 yards per carry and if he can consistently perform at that level it should provide the Mountaineers with a weapon they did not have last season.  2022 starter Bryce Madison (RB Bryce Madison 5-6 195 (So) Bryan (Bryan TX) 3.5 of 4.0 [Power]) figures to see action on 3rd downs and in multiple running back sets.  Joshua Burroughs will also be available for a change of pace.  

 

Barrow gets the nod at tight end - One of the things smackemz at the staff were looking for was more production out of the tight end group.  Last season the tight ends only contributed a handful of catches, so when Barrow (TE Jermaine Barrow 6-5 197 (Fr) Robert E. Lee (Baytown TX) 2.0 of 4.0 [Receiving]) grabbed 3 balls for 60 yards and a touchdown during the spring game it was almost a given he would get the start.  Barrow brings good height to the position, but still needs to put on more muscle to be a threat as a blocker.  Look for smackemz to utilize Bobby Spikes (TE Bobby Spikes 6-0 217 Jr Penn Cambria (Cresson PA) 3.0 of 3.0 [Blocking]) in heavy sets that require better blocking.  

 

Offensive Line looks solid - Recently the RNN network rated the WVU offensive line as a top 15 unit in the country.  Lead by Mario Lawton (OG Mario Lawton 6-3 273 (Sr) Roane State Community College (Harriman TN) 5.0 of 5.0 [Run Blocking]) the unit looks to pave the way for Mike Freeman and give Martin Lake plenty of time to throw the ball.

 

DT2 -  Mordechai Chappell (DT Mordechai Chappell 6-7 310 (Fr) Wink (Wink TX) 2.0 of 4.0 [1-Gap]) seems to have won the DT2 spot alongside 4th year starter Riley Reardon (DT Riley Reardon 6-0 315 Sr Nicholas County (Summersville WV) 4.0 of 4.0 [1-Gap]).  Jack Yazzie (DT Jack Yazzie 6-5 294 So Azle (Azle TX) 2.0 of 4.5 [2-Gap]) will take a redshirt and look to pair with Chappell in 2024.  

 

Outside Linebackers - True freshman Hudson Collins OLB Hudson Collins 5-11 221 Fr Scotland (Scotland PA) 2.5 of 4.0 [Coverage] earns the start a long side 3rd year starter Luke Lacey (OLB Luke Lacey 6-1 228 (Jr) Saint Albans (St. Albans WV) 3.5 of 3.5 [Coverage]).  Lacey will bring some experience and consistency to a young WVU linebacking corp as they also look to break in a new man in the middle Lavonte Jones (ILB Lavonte Jones 6-1 252 (Fr) Cooper (Cooper TX) 3.0 of 4.5 [Mike]).

 

The Secondary - The Mountaineers will boast a young secondary after the early departure of Lamont Carson.  Redshirt freshman Moussa Lacy (CB Moussa Lacy 6-0 203 (Fr) Irving (Irving TX) 2.0 of 4.0 [Man Coverage]) got the nod at CB2 and redshirt freshman Bucky Richardson (SS Bucky Richardson 5-11 209 (Fr) South Grand Prarie ( TX) 2.0 of 4.0 [Man Coverage]) earned the starting strong safety job.  Look for the junior Harry Conner (CB Harry Conner 5-11 185 (Jr) Saint Albans (St. Albans WV) 4.0 of 4.0 [Man Coverage]) and 2022 All-Big XII Performer Preston Evans (FS Preston Evans 6-0 190 (So) Joaquin (Joaquin TX) 3.5 of 3.5 [Man Coverage]) to provide leadership for this young unit.  

 

Fans can access the opening week depth chart here.  

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30 minutes ago, smackemz said:

Mike Freeman wins the starting running back job - True freshman Mike Freeman (RB Mike Freeman 5-10 229 Fr Manchester (Midlothian VA) 3.0 of 4.5 [Power]) parlayed his excellent spring game performance into an opening day start.  Freeman was able to grind out over 100 yards and over 5 yards per carry and if he can consistently perform at that level it should provide the Mountaineers with a weapon they did not have last season.  2022 starter Bryce Madison (RB Bryce Madison 5-6 195 (So) Bryan (Bryan TX) 3.5 of 4.0 [Power]) figures to see action on 3rd downs and in multiple running back sets.  Joshua Burroughs will also be available for a change of pace.  

 

Was it just the spring game that decided this battle or were there other factors?  And has Madison shown any desire to transfer?

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9 minutes ago, joedchi said:

 

Was it just the spring game that decided this battle or were there other factors?  And has Madison shown any desire to transfer?

The spring game combined with Madison's inconsistency really kind of cemented the decision for us.  At this moment Madison has not shown any desire to transfer, he's a competitive young man and wants to stick it out this season and compete.  We'll see where he stands next season.  

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