Neal Brown Dominating the Transfer Portal

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — Coming off his best season as the head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers, Neal Brown has positioned his team to legitimately compete for a Big 12 Championship next season.  

Brown, who has now coached 5 full seasons at West Virginia, returns most of his outstanding offensive line, most of of his terrific running back corps and starting quarterback Garrett Greene, who has developed into one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the conference. There were holes to fill, of course, and Brown and his staff have successfully done so through the transfer portal this offseason. Here’s a list of potential weaknesses and how the Mountaineers’ coaching staff have addressed them in the portal:

Defensive Secondary

Ayden Garnes, Defensive Back, Duquesne

Garnes, a 6’0 175 pound redshirt junior from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, announced that he will transfer from Duqesne to West Virginia University for the 2024 season. At Duqesne, Garnes was a team captain and had 51 tackles, 1 sack and 2 intereceptions as a starter for the Dukes this past season.

In addition, Garnes had an impressive PFF Grade of 87.7, which was 3rd in the FCS among cornerbacks. Since entering the transfer portal, Garnes has received offers from Appalachian State, Cincinnati, Ball State, Coastal Carolina, FIU, Indiana, UMASS, Liberty, Tulane and UCONN, but was particularly impressed with his visit at West Virginia and will now play for the Mountaineers!

With his experience and talent, expect Garnes to compete for a starting position in the West Virginia secondary in 2024. Garnes has two years of eligibility remaining.

Josh Minkins, Safety, Louisville

Minkins, who will have one year of eligibility remaining, was a 247Sports three-star prospect in the 2020 class. In four seasons with the Cardinals, he tallied 99 tackles, 3 pass deflections, 1 sack, and 1 interception. Again, with his experience, he could potentially be a starter or play heavy minutes for the Mountaineers at safety next season.

T.J. Crandall, Defensive Back, Colorado State

A former 247Sports three-star prospect, Crandall spent one season with the Rams. During his freshman season in 2023, he tallied 19 tackles, 2 pass deflections, and 1 interception.

West Virginia beat out UCLA, who was said to be the other school that Crandall was choosing between. Crandall is a big-time talent who had offers galore when he entered the portal. Expect him to play immediately next season as well.

Wide Receivers

Jaden Bray, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State

A huge area of concern last season and going into next season is at the wide receivers position. Brown and staff have addressed that early by gaining a committment from Jaden Bray. Bray, a 6’2 redshirt sophomore from Norman, Oklahoma, had 30 receptions for 382 yards and 3 touchdowns for the Oklahoma State Cowboys last season, and should immediately be one of the top receivers for the Mountaineers next season.

Defensive Line

Ty French, Defensive Line, Gardner-Webb

French, a 3-time FCS All-American, has had a remarkable career at Gardner-Webb, where he has 239 tackles, 61 tackles for loss, 34.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and an interception during his three seasons with the team.  A 6’3, 230 defensive lineman from Moultrie, Georgia, French is a sack machine and will be an outstanding addition to the Mountaineers’ football program.