WVU Picked To Finish Second In Preseason Poll

IRVING, Texas — West Virginia was selected to finish second in the Big 12 football preseason poll, voted on by media representatives.

Oklahoma garnered 46 of the 52 first-place votes.

West Virginia was chosen second with TCU, Texas and Oklahoma State rounding out the top five. The Mountaineers received two first-place nods while TCU and Texas had one each. Kansas State was predicted to finish sixth, claiming two first-place votes followed by Iowa State, Texas Tech, Baylor and Kansas.

Over the last four years, West Virginia is the only team in the Big 12 to finish the season higher than its preseason prediction.

The top two finishers in the league standings will compete in the Big 12 Football Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 1 to determine the Conference title.

The 2017 season concluded with the Big 12 leading the nation with 80 percent of its teams selected to bowl games, highlighted by Oklahoma’s second appearance in three years in a CFP semifinal.

Head coaches and select student-athletes will converge in Frisco, Texas on July 16-17 for the annual Big 12 Football Media Days to preview the 2018 season. Both days will be televised live from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT on FS2 and additional FOX Sports regional affiliates. Exclusive coverage will also be available on the Big 12’s digital platforms – Big12Sports.com, Twitter and Instagram (@Big12Conference). The official hashtag for Media Days will be #Big12FB.

Grier Chosen Media Preseason Big 12

Offensive Player of Year

Irving, Texas — Redshirt senior quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Will Grier was named the Big 12 Conference Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, and he and three of his teammates were named to the All-Big 12 Media Preseason Football Team, today, as announced by the league office.

Grier, senior wide receiver David Sills V, redshirt senior offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste and redshirt junior linebacker David Long Jr. were the four Mountaineers named to the all-conference team.

The total team honored 17 seniors, 11 juniors and one sophomore. Seven were named to the 2017 All-Big 12 First Team while 11 were on the second team.

Other preseason individual awards went to defensive end Ben Banogu (TCU) as Defensive Player of the Year and defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles (Oklahoma) as Newcomer of the Year.

Grier is the Conference’s top returner in total offense average (328.4), passing yards per game (317.3) and passing efficiency (162.7).

The 2017 Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year started 11 games for West Virginia before a season-ending hand injury in the first quarter against Texas.

Sills V earned All-America honors and was a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award after finishing with 60 catches for 980 yards and tied for the nation’s lead with 18 touchdown receptions.

Cajuste has been a two-year starter and anchors the Mountaineer offensive line at the left tackle position. He was a member of an offensive line in 2017 that only allowed 4.1 tackles for loss per game, ranking No. 8 nationally and No. 1 in the Big 12. Opponents averaged only 1.5 sacks per game, ranking No. 20 in the nation. He also was part of an offensive line that paved the way for a 1,000-yard rusher, a 3,400-yard pass and two 1,000-yard receivers.

Long Jr. played in nine games in 2017 after suffering a preseason knee injury. The ProFootballFocus All-America Second Team selection finished third on the team with 76 tackles, including 56 unassisted tackles, four sacks, a team-leading 16.5 tackles for loss, six pass breakups and a fumble recovery.