Major Culture Problem at West Virginia Football

Morgantown, West Virginia – While Neal Brown is often praised for his leadership and his ability to “build a program”, West Virginia leads the Big 12 Conference and the nation in transfers during this calendar year.

Other schools that are at the top of the list in transfers – Virginia, Florida State, Texas, etc. – went through head coaching changes this year. The fact that West Virginia leads the nation without a change in coach and during a stable time is all the more frightening.

Neal Brown apologists – including West Virginia’s Director of Athletics Shane Lyons – claim that “it’s happening everywhere” and that the transfer portal is a problem at every school. While it’s true that the transfer portal has affected every major football program in one way or another, it has devastated West Virginia.

28 transfers in one calendar year is not normal. It signals a real problem with the culture within a program.

Another argument made is that the players who have transferred have not gone on to much success at their new schools. Again, while there is some truth to that, depth at West Virginia is a major area of concern.

Look at the tight end position heading into the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. With starter Mike O’Laughlin and his backup, Charles Finley, unable to play, West Virginia was forced to play true freshman Treylan Davis, who had played very limited snaps during the year. This because a truly talented TJ Banks decided that he couldn’t wait until after the bowl game to enter the transfer portal.

Since the bowl game, several players have hinted at their intentions of leaving the team. Winston Wright, Bryce Ford-Wheaton, Jackie Matthews, all starters, have made cryptic messages on social media suggesting that their days in Morgantown are over.

Simply shrugging off transfers as it’s happening every where, is not truthful. We have a real problem at West Virginia University, and Neal Brown and Shane Lyons should be accountable and be made to answer for this. 28 transfers in one calendar year is not normal and it’s not okay. What, culturally, is going on at West Virginia that so many players are leaving? Lack of playing time happens everywhere and players don’t leave programs at such an alarming rate. What is going on in Morgantown?  

The following is the comprehensive list of every player on the West Virginia football roster that has left the team since January 1, 2021:

1/3/21 – Lorenzo Door, Running Back

1/5/21 – Austin Kendall, Quarterback

1/8/21 – Charlie Benton, Linebacker

1/19/21 – Bryce Brand, Defensive Lineman

1/21/21 – Ali Jennings, Wide Receiver

2/2/21 – Briason Mays, Offensive Lineman

2/2/21 – Blaine Scott, Offensive Lineman

2/8/21 – Alec Sinkfield, Running Back

3/25/21 – Tykee Smith, Safety

3/29/21 – Dreshun Miller, Cornerback

4/29/21 – Jeffery Pooler, Defensive Lineman

4/30/21 – Randy Fields, Wide Receiver

5/10/21 – Jayvon Thrift, Safety

5/11/21 – Jacob Long, Cornerback

6/10/21 – Tariq Stewart, Offensive Lineman

6/28/21 – David Vincent-Okoli, Cornerback

10/6/21 – James Thomas, Linebacker

10/7/21 – Eddie Watkins, Defensive End

10/13/21 – Darel Middleton, Defensive Lineman

10/13/21 – Kerry Martin, Jr., Cornerback

10/26/21 – Devell Washington, Linebacker

10/29/21 – Avarius Sparrow, Running Back

11/11/21 – Sam Brown, Wide Receiver

11/30/21 – Parker Moorer, Offensive Lineman

11/30/21 – VanDarius Cowan, Linebacker

12/5/21 – Isaiah Esdale, Wide Receiver

12/8/21 – T.J. Banks, Tight end

12/30/21 – JP Hadley, Long Snapper