A new linebacker was spotted at Saturday’s scrimmage inside Milan Puskar Stadium. Technically, Devell Washington isn’t new to the program, but he is to the defense.
Washington was a wide receiver for the Mountaineers until last week when he met with the coaching staff and said he would like to give it a go at WILL linebacker. The redshirt freshman does have defensive experience, but it came at the high school level playing free safety.
“His body has changed so much since high school. He’s bigger,” WVU coach Neal Brown said. “I think from a body standpoint and ability to help us, he can do that. He had an interception in the scrimmage today. He’s got good awareness as far as playing defensively.”
Brown said on Saturday the spring season is a great time to experiment and put people in different positions, but in Washington’s case, he expects the move to be more concrete.
“I think this will stick. I think he has real potential at that position especially because of how we use them playing outside the box so much. His length — if we were going to go recruit a WILL linebacker, it would look like Devell, honestly. He’s 6-2, 212-215 pounds, could be 225 and still move at the same ability. Everything is new for him because he played safety and didn’t play as much on defense but I do think he has a high ceiling.”
It may have taken until the spring season for Washington to make the switch, but he started showing his potential and making an impression on the coaches last fall.
“We really first noticed he had the attributes to play defensively on special teams in the fall. On our scout teams for special teams, he did a really good job on kick off, punt, and punt return,” Brown said.
Along with a takeaway on Saturday, Washington took a lot of reps at the position due to an injury to Exree Loe. The redshirt senior missed practice due to an illness, allowing the newcomer to see increased touches.