WVU football defensive lineman Taijh Alston has been nominated for the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year award as he works on completing his first full season as a Mountaineer.

Alston is one of three new nominees for this award, which honors college football players “who have overcome injury, illness, or other challenges.” He enters the pool of nominees along with USC’s Kyle Ford and Western Kentucky’s Dalvin Smith.

By December, there will be 30 nominees, of which three will be chosen as winners and recognized during the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, 2022.

Alston has appeared in all 10 of West Virginia’s games this season, amassing 28 tackles, 9.5 tackles-for-loss and five sacks as a redshirt junior. He missed all but one of WVU’s games in 2020 while he dealt with an injury, and played two games in his first season at WVU before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

Time away from the field has been a theme for Alston’s collegiate football career, even dating back to before his time in Morgantown. Alston started his college football at East Carolina in 2017, but suffered a knee injury before the season opener, then transferred to junior college for the 2018 season.

Alston’s constant fights to get back on the field have made him value this season a little more.

“This season is very important to me and it makes me very appreciative of every rep I get, because I know it can all be gone tomorrow,” Alston said in October.