When Alonzo Addae joined the Mountaineers in 2019, his older cousin Jahmile Addae was on the defensive staff. Last season, they had the opportunity to grow their respective football careers alongside each other.

They won’t get an encore season together as Jahmile is now at Georgia, but a few things remain the same for Alonzo a year later — he’s one of WVU’s top defenders and still has someone he considers family on the team.

“What a lot of people don’t know is me and Deshawn have known each other for a long time,” Addae said, referring to a new addition to the program, linebacker Deshawn Stevens.

“Both of us are from the Toronto, Canada, area and played against each other in little league ball. We also played with each other on Team Ontario and then we played in the International World Series at the Dallas Cowboys stadium with Team Canada vs. Team USA. That’s been a long-time friend so I’m definitely happy he is able to join us here and think he’ll be a great addition to the team.”

So, that means he and Addae have gone from teammates to college football rivals and back to teammates once again. Stevens transferred from Maine in late June and will join the Mountaineers in 2021 as a redshirt senior while Addae’s career began at New Hampshire — he actually made his collegiate debut against Maine. Both players were also selected by the Ottawa RedBlacks in the CFL Draft.

Even though their paths have once again led them to the same playing surface, that doesn’t mean the competition between the two has died down. If anything, it’s that familiarity that Addae believes he can translate into leadership.

“That’s somebody I think of as a brother,” Addae said. “He and I have a great relationship so it will be easy for me to hang out with him outside of the facility and explain the defense to him and also just show him around Morgantown and see the great things this town has to offer.”

Stevens and the Black Bears saw a shortened spring season in 2020 but he led the team with 36 tackles. He’ll add much-needed depth to the LB room that lost its top player at the position and the team’s leading tackler, Tony Fields.