It’s time to fill the final spot on the All-Mountaineer Team’s defense.
With this poll, you will be making a big decision along with your favorite player: is the All-Mountaineer Team’s defense a 3-4, or a 4-3? (A lot of fans will be happy to hear this won’t be a 3-3-5)
As usual, be sure to take a look below the poll if you need a quick refresher on any nominee’s career.
Renaldo Turnbull (1986-1989): Turnbull was one of West Virginia’s toughest defensive lineman during his upperclassmen years. He finished his career with 18.5 sacks and 25.5 tackles for loss, the former of which is fifth all-time in program history. He helped anchor the Mountaineers’ 1988 defense as a junior, helping his team get to the national championship Fiesta Bowl that year. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints with the 14th overall pick in 1990.
John Thornton (1995-1998): Before his son Jalen joined the Mountaineers last season, John made sure Mountaineer fans knew the Thornton name with his 15 career sacks, 93 solo tackles, 19 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and an interception. As a sophomore, he helped Canute Curtis front the top-ranked defense in the country, when he added 51 tackles for a loss and 5 sacks. As a junior in 1997, Thornton earned a first-team All-American honor from The Sports Network.
Gary Stills (1996-1998): Yet another legacy Mountaineer and member of the 1996 squad, Stills preceded his sons Darius and Dante on the offensive line as a three-year contributor for West Virginia. he finished his career with 26 sacks, 159 total tackles and 18 tackles for loss as the Mountaineers finished with winning records in all three seasons.
Reed Williams (2005-2009): Likely the only Mountaineer on this list to have a holiday named after him, Williams was a key piece to the Mountaineers’ legendary 2007 team that brought home a Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma. That year turned out to be the best of his career, when he brought down 107 ball carriers with a sack. The lone sack came in the Fiesta Bowl, in which he brought home the game’s Defensive MVP award — an honor high enough for his hometown of Moorefield, West Virginia to celebrate “Reed Williams Day.”
David Long (2015-2018): Called the “Scariest Linebacker in College Football” by a YouTuber in 2018, Long’s job was to keep opponents out of the end zone while Will Grier, David Sills and Gary Jennings did their best to find it — and he was good at it. The Cincinnati native 250 tackles in his WVU career, 111 of which came during his junior campaign in 2018. That year, he also added 19 TFLs and 7 sacks. He finished his career as the Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Year and a second team All-American from several publications. He just finished his rookie season with the Tennessee Titans, where he starts at linebacker.
We are reaching the end of our All-Mountaineer Team polls. This weekend, we’ll be rounding out the team by deciding a kicker on Saturday and, most importantly, the All-Mountaineer Head Coach on Sunday. Be sure to stop by to help fill out the team before it is unveiled on Monday.