Who Steps Up?

West Virginia will be without starting cornerback Brodrick Jenkins on Saturday vs. Kansas State. Who will fill his shoes?

It's a tough loss for the nation's 118th-worst passing defense in the country, especially when defensive coordinator Joe DeForest called Jenkins the Mountaineers' best cornerback on the roster.

Jenkins suffered what head coach Dana Holgorsen called a "slight cartilage tear" versus Texas Tech, and will miss the game vs. the No. 4 Wildcats. However, Holgorsen said Jenkins will be back at some point this season.

Without Jenkins, DeForest isn't exactly sure yet who will take his place in the starting lineup.

"We don't have many guys left, so it's open for competition. When you look at the depth chart, you just have to hope the next guy steps up," DeForest said. "Whoever it may be, whether it's another true freshman, so be it. That's what we have to deal with."

Starter Pat Miller will be counted on even more with the absence of Jenkins. Outside of that, DeForest named freshmen Ricky Rumph and Nana Kyeremeh as the only two other players on the roster at the position that could get a shot to start.

"Who else do we got?" the first-year defensive coordinator asked a group of three media members on Tuesday. "If you know of anyone, let me know." DeForest said it's all about finding the best 11 players on the field, and if need be, the defense will move players around at different positions to put the best players on the field at one time.

Through the first six games, Jenkins was the team's eighth-leading tackler. Kyeremeh, who has seen the most extensive time at corner outside of Jenkins and Miller, has eight tackles to his name this season.

"I hope it's not a significant loss," said leading tackler and linebacker Isaiah Bruce. "He's a great leader for us, and he brings a lot of enthusiasm. He's still going to help out the secondary from the sidelines, but we've always had people step up, so the people that are trying to fill that spot will have to do that."

Prior to the Kansas State game, WVU has worked almost exclusively with the same two cornerbacks – Pat Miller and Jenkins. At times, backups have stepped in but have had little to no success in the starters' place.

In specific instances against Baylor and Texas Tech, younger back-up corners were schooled for touchdowns.

"This is exactly why you have to have depth. With teams passing so much in the Big 12, you have to have a stable to play. We're going to see who's ready," said WVU cornerbacks coach Daron Roberts. "It's a wide open race. You don't have to get up for a game like this, and guys are excited to bounce back after last week, so the whole unit is looking forward to this game.

"Guys are competing. We'll make a decision by the end of the week. They're not excited to be without Brodrick, but they're excited to get an opportunity."


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