MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU head football coach Neal Brown knows he needs to see an increase in his tight-end production. None of West Virginia’s tight ends scored a touchdown in 2022. The group as a whole hauled in just 16 receptions for 153 yards last season.
With the two leading tight ends from 2022 exiting the program after last season, Brown decided to make a splash in the transfer portal.
Our roster review series continues with a look at West Virginia’s tight ends and fullback(s):
Junior Kole Taylor
Taylor, a transfer from LSU, could be one of the biggest impact transfers for Neal Brown in 2023. He shined in April’s annual Gold-Blue game with three receptions for 36 yards, including a one-handed snag over the middle of the field that may have been the play of the day.
According to 247Sports, the 6-foot-7-inch, 250-pound tight end was the No. 4 high-school prospect out of Colorado in 2020, and he committed to LSU as a three-star recruit. At LSU, he recorded 17 catches for 159 yards and a score in three seasons. Fifty-five of the 159 yards came in 2022.
“He’s got a distinct advantage over the linebackers and safeties he’s playing,” Brown said. “And a lot of that time, it’s four or five inches, right? That’s why we brought him here.”
Brown sold WVU to Taylor on the notion that he would be an integral part in revamping the Mountaineer offense, so don’t be surprised if Taylor matches last year’s tight-end production on his own.
Redshirt Sophomore Treylan Davis
Entering his third year in Morgantown, Davis continues to creep his way up the tight end depth chart. He redshirted during his freshman season after appearing in just 29 snaps.
Last year, he hauled in five receptions for 51 yards and saw his playing time increase following Mike O’Laughlin’s season-ending knee injury.
The six-foot-3-inch, 250-pound former three-star recruit was the No. 39 tight end in the nation coming out of high school in Jackson, Ohio.
Redshirt Freshman Will Dixon
Dixon was a late addition to Brown’s 2022 recruiting class, joining the team in August after committing in June. This means Dixon is really going through his first offseason with WVU this year, and that could be significantly beneficial for his development.
He took a redshirt year last season, and he could see himself slip into a similar role as Davis did in 2022.
Fifth Year Luke Hamilton
While all tight ends and fullbacks are grouped into one group (tight end/fullback) on the WVU roster, Towson transfer Luke Hamilton is the truest fullback of the bunch.
Hamilton played fullback for four years at Towson, earning Second-Team All-CAA in his junior season, and a CAA preseason all-conference selection before the 2022 season. He was primarily used as a run-blocker, but he also recorded six catches for 43 yards his junior year.
Freshman additions/rounding out depth chart
- Freshman Noah Braham (Son of WVU Hall-of-Fame OL Rich Braham)
- Freshman TJ Johnson (converted from WR)
- Redshirt Freshman Carson Everhart
- Redshirt Sophomore Victor Wikstrom
- Mike O’Laughlin – Last year’s leading receiver among tight ends, O’Laughlin entered the portal as a graduate transfer and landed at the University of Houston. He made 32 appearances during his WVU tenure. He was a key piece to the Mountaineer offense, injury woes became a mainstay in his career as he suffered two more season-ending injuries. Still, he tallied 37 receptions in his career for 292 yards and a touchdown over four seasons.
- Brian Polendey – After O’Laughlin’s injury in 2023, Polendey saw his usage increase. His eligibility expired after the 2022 season following stints at Miami, Colorado State and WVU
- Corbin Page – A native of Huntington, West Virginia, Page was the No. 1 recruit in the state in the class of 2022. He entered the transfer portal after not receiving any snaps last year.
Check out some of our previous roster reviews:
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