The West Virginia Mountaineers got some tough news on Wednesday when it was reported that linebacker David Long is going to miss the first month of the season, according to Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman.
Feldman says that Long is expected to miss at least the first month of the season due to a meniscus tear suffered an on offseason conditioning workout. David Long came on strong in the second half of last season. He wrapped up his season with 11 tackles in a loss to Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl. He had at least 9 tackles in 3 of the last 5 games of the season. Over the entire 2016 campaign, Long made 65 tackles with 4.5 tackles for loss.
Long is one of just three Mountaineers defenders returning as starters. It’s the second-straight year defensive coordinator Tony Gibson has to turnover the majority of his defense.
The good news is there are reinforcements coming to Morgantown. Dravon Askew-Henry is back this season after suffering a season-ending knee injury prior to last season. Askew-Henry was expected to be one of the team’s top defenders. Also, Brendan Ferns is a 4-star recruit who was expected to make an immediate impact after coming in as part of the 2016 recruiting class, but he also suffered a season-ending knee injury last August.
Ferns is back and the linebackers have a lot of potential at WVU, including names such as Al-Rasheed Benton, Xavier Preston, Adam Hensley, Zach Sandwisch and Dylan Tonkery.
But the toughest part about losing a key returnee for the first month is that the Mountaineers have a key non-conference game to open the season Labor Day Weekend against their old Big East rival Virginia Tech.