Local Player, National Stage

Wes Tonkery has an opportunity to make a large impact in Saturday's game against the Crimson Tide. As native of the Mountain State, Tonkery knows he can be a part of history with victory.

Wes Tonkery was born in Shinnston, W.Va. and said he has been a Mountaineer fan since the day he was born. Now, in his senior year, with WVU Tonkery has some of good memories in gold and blue.

Tonkery’s first start came in the 2012 Orange Bowl win against Clemson, when Terrence Garvin was out on injury. A win against number two Alabama on Saturday would be comparable to that one in Miami.

“This is why guys come to West Virginia, to play big games,” said Tonkery. “This game definitely fits that.”

Alabama has won three of the last five national championships, and had 10 players picked to the 2014 Preseason All-SEC Team.

Although, preseason glory is nice, Tonkery is not distracted by the glam on this Alabama squad.

“I like being the underdog, most of our success comes from when we are the underdog,” he said. “I take it all as a challenge.”

Injuries have been a part of Tonkery's storyline throughout his WVU career. He got on the field before being expected to due so when Garvin went down, and he has had his own playing time cut short by dings and breaks. Those have to be put aside, though, when returning to action, and he has done just that through a stellar fall camp in which he won a starting job that most observers thought would be awarded elsewhere.

Tonkery’s journey to the starting lineup has been “a stuggle” as he called it. A hand injury against Baylor last year, prevented him from finishing the season, but he said with a combination of hard work and everything that it takes to get on the field he is back in the lineup.

The redshirt senior has been highly praised throughout camp, and hopes his hard work is going to pay off with what would be a successful career-capping senior season.


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