MORGANTOWN — West Virginia coach Neal Brown saw another starting safety head into the NCAA’s transfer portal on Wednesday, a day after the man who was supposed to be the anchor of his defense, Kenny Robinson Jr., also announced he was leaving the school.
Junior Derrek Pitts, a sometime cornerback, sometime safety who came out of spring practice penciled in to start alongside Robinson, became the latest in what is becoming a stampede for the door. A possible Pitts replacement in reserve safety Eugene Brown also announced his joining the transfer portal, making three WVU safties to enter the transfer portal in the last two days.
At the same time, the door swung the other way as the quarterback position got deeper with the enrollment in summer classes of Bowling Green graduate transfer Jarret Doege. Doege’s intention to transfer to WVU had been announced a couple of weeks ago. He has three years to play two seasons.
Also announcing their intentions to leave since last season are starting wide receiver Marcus Simms, last year’s starting center Matt Jones, defensive lineman Tyrese Allen, wide receiver Dillon Spalding and defensive back Jordan Adams.
In addition, linebacker Brendan Ferns, who also might have started, left the team due to injury.
Pitts is a former 4-star recruit from South Charleston High who last was seen grabbing an interception against Syracuse in th Camping World Bowl loss to Syracuse.
Coach Brown is going to have completely reshape his thinking about the safety position as he probably can’t land any transfers at this point and is out of scholarships. He will have to dig into the mix of available players at the position which includes Jake Long, Kerry Martin, Sean Mahone and Osman Kamara.
They also have to look into the possibility of doing some position changing. Cornerback Josh Norwood, a Ohio State transfer and hard hitter and aggressive tackler, has some safety experience and JoVanni Stewart also is the kind of player who could handle the tackling end of playing safety, although its not certain he could do the coverage.
As for Doege, Brown coached his brother, Seth, at Texas Tech. The younger Doege was one of the most accurate passers in the Mid-American Conference.
WVU had three prime quarterbacks this spring with Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall holding an edge over Jack Allison and Trey Lowe.