Brendan Ferns Tears ACL Again
MORGANTOWN — Weather wasn’t the only bad news coming out of West Virginia University after its annual Gold-Blue Scrimmage was canceled because of expected snow fall of anywhere from five to eight inches.
Rumors had floated around campus all week that St. Clairsville native Brendan Ferns had suffered yet another torn ACL — the same one that he had surgically repaired but kept him out of the 2016 season.
If true, and surgery is necessary, the redshirt sophomore probably will keep him off the artificial surface at Milan Puskar Stadium for yet another season.
“(Ferns) can play anywhere,” veteran defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said at the beginning of spring drills. “He can play Mike, he can play Sam, if he can beat somebody out then good for him. He will have every opportunity to do that.”
And, it appeared as if a chance at a starting spot became more apparent when senior Quondarius Quall went down with an injury that will cause him to miss the 2018 campaign.
What we do know is that juco Charles Benton will open August camp atop the depth chart at the Sam linebacker slot with junior Adam Hensley and redshirt sophomore Zach Sandwisch, who have only participated in limited special team roles to date, as the unit’s primary backups.
Parkersburg South graduate Luke Williams — a walk-on — and January enrollee Josh Chandler are listed in backup spots on the depth chart even though neither have seen a snap from scrimmage.
The unexpected losses have caused many Mountaineer fans to raise doubts about the defense’s ability to stop anyone on WVU’s 2018 slate of games.
It appears as if Gibson and his staff will go back to the ‘graduate transfer’ route, like it did to replace ESPN Freshman All-American defensive lineman Lamonte McDougle when he elected to transfer before the spring.
Redshirt senior Kenny Bigelow Jr. (6-foot-3, 300 pounds), who was recently granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA because of injuries and graduated from USC with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, has elected to come to Morgantown for final season.
The Elkton, Md., native played in six games in his final season with the Trojans after competing for a starting defensive tackle job before sustaining a season-ending knee injury during spring drills as a redshirt junior.
Head coach Dana Holgorsen’s policy of not talking to the media concerning injuries which may keep a player out for the season makes it still a possibility that Ferns, who missed WVU’s final eight games last season after suffering a shoulder injury in the Mountaineers victory at Kansas, may still return.
During his short time on the field Ferns accounted for 10 tackles (nine solo) and had one kickoff return for 11 yards as WVU finished 7-6 with a loss to Utah in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
In other news coming out of the spring Union Local’s Colton McKivitz was one of four players named as recipients of the 2018 Iron Mountaineer Award, presented to the most outstanding performers in WVU’s offseason strength and conditioning program.
Joining McKivitz, a redshirt junior offensive lineman, was senior wide receivers Gary Jennings Jr. and David Sills V and redshirt sophomore linebacker Dylan Tonkery.
Taking the 2018 Tom Nickolich Memorial Award, presented by the Blue and Gold News, was redshirt sophomore kicker Evan Staley.
Staley, a Hampshire High graduate, is in his third year as a member of the football team and played in all 13 games last year. The Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection made good on 6 of 7 field goal attempts and all of his extra-point tries after taking over for an injured Mike Molina.