Cover Photo Courtesy of WVU Athletics
Morgantown, West Virginia – West Virginia has gotten absolutely destroyed in the transfer portal in Neal Brown’s three seasons with the Mountaineers.
Over the past three seasons, West Virginia has lost 42 players to the transfer portal and gained 10 players. Any way you look at it, that’s startling.
While the argument can be made that several of these players weren’t starters who did not go on to great success at their new schools, it’s important to remember that depth is extraordinarily critical to a football program.
In addition, the Mountaineers have now lost 8 starters – Winston Wright, Jarret Doege, Jackie Matthews, Sean Ryan, Isaiah Esdale, Daryl Porter, Josh Chandler-Semedo and Nicktroy Fortune – since last season.
However, the quality of the players is not really the question. These were players recruited to attend West Virginia University and play for the Mountaineers, but ultimately it’s the quantity, not the quality of players that’s become a problem.
While redshirt senior offensive lineman James Gmiter saying that “We will win with the guys that want to be here” is commendable and inspiring, replacing eight starters and multiple key reserves will be very challenging (impossible?) for West Virginia.
We will win with the guys that want to be here!!💛💙
— 74 (@Gmiter74) February 25, 2022
Director of Athletics Shane Lyons and Head Coach Neal Brown simply throwing their hands up and saying that “it’s happening everywhere” is disingenuous and unfair. While the transfer portal has affected every team in the nation, it has not had the tremendous negative impact that it has at West Virginia, and it’s important that both Brown and Lyons admit that there’s a problem and discuss why it’s happening.
Is it NIL? Is it Morgantown? Is it the culture of the football program? Is it the weather? What is it?
The silence and lack of answers is comparable to denial, and denying that there’s a problem is unacceptable. West Virginia leads the Big 12 Conference and is one of the nation’s leaders in transfers, and this is happening during a time of “stability”, not during a coaching change or transition.
Neal Brown has had three full seasons, which is an eternity in college athletics, and there have been no improvements on or off the field. The excuses for Brown’s failures are old and tiresome. We deserve some real, honest answers to the tough questions that every West Virginia fan has for Neal Brown and Shane Lyons.