Assessing WVU’s Snap Counts

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Assessing WVU’s Snap Counts

Now that the Winter transfer portal “season” has slowed significantly, we think it is a good time to take stock of the West Virginia Mountaineers roster composition. Our goal here is not to look too closely at each position group. We will cover that in our pre-Spring positional preview series beginning in a couple of weeks. Instead, we want to look at how balanced the roster may (or may not) be. Without further ado, then, we are assessing WVU’s snap counts here.

Offensive Snap Count Totals

After the decision by Jarret Doege to transfer, the youngest position on West Virginia’s offense is, not surprisingly, quarterback. They return just 144 snaps total, and 136 of them belong to Garrett Greene. Greene represents the most veteran quarterback, and he enters the 2022 season as a redshirt sophomore.

Across the rest of the offense, however, WVU fares much better, despite some doom-and-gloom resulting from transfer numbers. Running back seems thin at first blush. Tony Mathis represents the only returning member of last year’s roster, and he has just 172 snaps under his belt. That said, Lyn-J Dixon racked up nearly 1,000 snaps in his four years at Clemson.

The receivers look better than expected, as they return two players with over 1,200 snaps each. Two more have over 250 each. Depth remains the biggest issue in that room, as the roster carries just seven scholarship receivers. That said, the Mountaineers field four experienced options. At tight end, the Mountaineers also have seven scholarship players here, but the experience concentrates at the top, with Mike O’Laughlin returning 790 snaps.

On the offensive line, the Mountaineers finally field a well-balanced unit here. They return all five starters. Two of them are fourth-year players (both with two years of eligibility remaining because of the free COVID year). Doug Nester returns the most snaps with over 2,000 across three seasons. Three others crossed the 1,000 snap threshold this season. Returning sophomore Wyatt Milum racked up over 500 in his true freshman season. Behind them, the line features one more with nearly 200 snaps and two more with 50 or more.

Defensive Snap Count Totals

On defense, the Mountaineers return quite a bit of experience at three of the four-position groups. Starting with the thinnest group, we look at safety first. Here, WVU’s snap counts are low. Only Saint McLeod returns more than 100 snaps. The other three returnees bring back just 87 snaps between them. WVU certainly has some young bodies they are excited about, but things may be a bit tough here to start the season.

That said, a good defensive line can mask issues elsewhere on the defense. Fortunately, WVU returns the most talent in this group. Indeed, the Mountaineers carry nearly 4,000 snaps of experience into the 2022 season as the roster is currently constructed. Dante Stills leads the pack with nearly 1,700. Two more players return over 500 snaps. Another falls just shy of the 500-snap mark. Three more carry over 100 snaps of experience into the season. This depth will go a long way to allowing the Mountaineers to control the line of scrimmage defensively.

At linebacker, the Mountaineers trot out a surprisingly veteran group. The decision by Josh Chandler-Semedo certainly helps here, as most thought he would move on after last season. He returns over 1,600 snaps alone, making him the second-most veteran leader on the defense. Behind him, West Virginia returns two players with over 700 snaps each, another with over 300, and one more with nearly 150 snaps. Among the six returnees to the linebacking corps, three are redshirt seniors and three are redshirt sophomores. The Mountaineers also add four bodies to this room through their 2022 recruiting efforts.

Finally, in assessing WVU’s snap counts, we look at cornerback. It may surprise some to learn that West Virginia actually returns some talent and experience here. Nicktroy Fortune leads the group with nearly 1,200 snaps. But both Daryl Porter and Charles Woods return over 350 snaps. Like Woods last season, the team also brought in a multi-year FCS starter in Marcis Floyd. As a result, the team does feature some depth in case the injury bug bites them again.

Assessing WVU’s Snap Counts

As we know, West Virginia finished 2021 with a 6-7 record. Three of its seven losses, however, saw the Mountaineers fall short by six points or fewer. With another year of experience–which typically makes the biggest impact in those 50-50 games–things look favorably aligned for WVU to add a few wins to their total. Just how high the ceiling can depend on a lot, and we have certainly not seen enough out of the next wave of talent to offer an educated guess. Building on a foundation of experience, however, is certainly a great place to start.