Morgantown, West Virginia – It’s not happening everywhere. Although collegiate players are leaving their schools and entering the transfer portal throughout the country, West Virginia football stands alone as the program most decimated by players transferring.
In the Big 12 Conference, West Virginia not only leads the conference in transfers, they more than double the second highest school.
The list of transfers in every Big 12 school in this calendar year is as follows: Baylor 1, Iowa State 5, Kansas 9, Kansas State 4, Oklahoma 13, Oklahoma State 3, TCU 11, Texas 9, Texas Tech 7, West Virginia University 27.
What’s more alarming is the amount of players who have transferred from West Virginia without a coaching change happening. Texas had a new coach (Steve Sarkisian), TCU and Texas Tech fired their head coaches (Gary Patterson and Matt Wells, respectively) and Oklahoma’s head coach Lincoln Riley left for USC.
Despite this unrest with other programs, West Virginia had far more transfers during a “stable” time in the program.
It’s not “happening everywhere.” Transfers since 1/1/21:
Baylor- 1 out
Iowa State- 5 out
Kansas- 9 out
Kansas State- 4 out
Oklahoma- 13 out (coach out)
OK State- 3 out
TCU- 11 (coach out)
Texas- 9 (new coach)
— The Voice of Morgantown (@voicemorgantown) December 9, 2021
In this calendar year – since January 1, 2021 – West Virginia has now lost 27 players. That’s more than an entire recruiting class. If this was Neal Brown’s first year after Dana Holgorsen left for Houston, it would be understandable. However, this is Neal Brown’s third year and many of the transfers are players he recruited.
Here 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
It’s easy to blame the head coach or the team’s culture, but it’s really unclear why West Virginia has had so many players leave. Only a few players who have left the program have spoken out about being truly unhappy with the situation.
However, the fact that neither Neal Brown or Shane Lyons have publicly commented on it is certainly questionable. To have so many players leave without any explanation is confusing and unfair to the West Virginia fan base. To act like it’s not happening is blatantly dishonest.
Yes, the transfer portal is a problem everywhere in the college sports landscape, but it’s really an issue at West Virginia and specifically within the football program right now.
Maybe it’s simply a coincidence, but Neal Brown and Shane Lyons owe us some answers.