The West Virginia defense was as solid as it has been since the mid-2000s, this past season.
A major reason for that was the secondary play. The unit was led by Karl Joseph, despite the talented safety missing half of the season due to injury. In his place at safety, Jarrod Harper and KJ Dillon filled in admirably.
At cornerback, the Mountaineers received strong play from seniors Terrell Chestnut and Rick Rumph. With that pair leaving after this season wraps up with the Cactus Bowl game on Jan. 2, the CB position will need another player to step up in 2016.
Can it be Daryl Worley?
If he stays for his senior season.
Worley had been a starter for the past three seasons and had his best campaign as a junior. He led the team with six interceptions and had the third-most tackles among secondary players with 49 tackles. He was even able to show off his agility with two tackles for a total loss of a seven yards.Nov 28, 2015; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers cornerback Daryl Worley (7) celebrates with fans after beating the Iowa State Cyclones at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
Worley also had 12 pass breakups, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
They were statistics good enough to earn Worley first-team All-Big 12 honors. Did he play well enough to get drafted in the 2016 NFL Draft?
According to NFLDraftScout.com, Worley’s stock is trending upward and he is ranked seventh out of 267 cornerbacks.
According to WalterFootball.com, Worley is not on a list of 32 cornerbacks. That could be because Worley has not yet declared for the draft.
But Virginia Tech junior Kendall Fuller has. He missed the 2015 season, where the Hokies went 6-6, with an injury but he still has intentions on turning professional. Fuller has already signed with an agent.
He leaves Virginia Tech with 119 tackles, eight interceptions and 35 passes defended. For his career at WVU, Worley has 146 tackles, 10 interceptions (his three in 2014 also led the team) and 19 pass breakups.
So, he certainly has the resume which would make pro scouts salivate.
Worley’s behavior showed no negative signs in 2015 and he has even been described as a defensive leader.
He has a chance to be even more than that in 2016, should he decide to stay. With Worley back in 2016, the WVU defense may be even more unstoppable than it was in 2015.