MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A total of eight West Virginia football players have been tabbed as Preseason All-Big 12 players by national college football reporter Phil Steele.
Center Zach Frazier headlines the list as WVU’s only first-team player. It’s the latest in a growing list of preseason accolades for the Fairmont, West Virginia native, who was also named a preseason All-American by Athlon Sports.
Steele picked sophomore running back CJ Donaldson to be a second-team all-conference player. Donaldson rushed for 526 yards and eight touchdowns in seven games last season. He is returning from a season-ending injury, but is expected to be fully healthy by the start of the regular season.
Offensive lineman Doug Nester and newcomer Ja’Shaun Poke each earned preseason third-team honors from Steele. Poke, who came to WVU from Kent State this offseason, earned his preseason nod as a kick returner. The 5-10 senior will be featured in the passing game this fall for WVU, but also figures to be Neal Brown’s lead return man on special teams. Brown said he believes Poke has a chance to “really improve us” from a kickoff return standpoint.
Four Mountaineers — Wyatt Milum (OT), Sean Martin (DE), Aubrey Burks (S), and Oliver Straw (P) — all earned fourth-team all-conference recognition from Steele. This is Straw’s first preseason honor.
WVU was tied with BYU and Oklahoma State for having the sixth-most players on Steele’s Preseason All-Big 12 teams. Texas led the way with 17. Houston and Iowa State had the fewest number of players with four apiece.
West Virginia begins the season at Penn State on Sept. 2, before returning home for back-to-back home games against Duquesne (Sept. 9) and Pitt (Sept. 16).