Making A Move Home

West Virginia native Dustin Crouser has always wanted to play for the state's flagship institution. The pull was so strong that even after a stellar season on the field at another school, he made the leap back to WVU and the Mountaineer football program.

"West Virginia has always been where I most wanted to play," the 6-2, 220-pound linebacker told after announcing his intention to transfer from the Charlotte 49ers football program. "That's always been a dream of mine."

In doing so, Crouser was clear that there were no problems with the Charlotte program, which began play in 2013. He redshirted during that first season, then made a big splash during his redshirt freshman year in 2014. Grabbing a starting position as an inside linebacker, he recorded 81 tackles (43 solo) and made 5.5 tackles for loss. He ranged the field well, and was also a force in pass defense, picking off a pair of throws and breaking up eight others. A big hitter who has always thrived on contact, he also forced three fumbles.

Despite that success, the chance to play under the bright lights of a Power 5 Division I program always stayed with him, and after getting his release from the 49ers, he immediately worked out the details of his move.

"I've talked with the WVU coaches and gotten everything in order, and I'll be coming up to campus for the start of fall practice. Since I will have to sit out this year, I won't be there earlier, but I'm going to work on everything I can so that I am ready to go next year," he explained.

After sitting out the 2015 season, Crouser will have two years of eligibility remaining. Although he didn't discuss positions specifically with the coaches, he believes that he'll begin at an inside or strong linebacker position, much as he played at Charlotte.

West Virginia's current linebacker depth chart is well-stocked, but four stalwarts (Nick Kwiatkoski, Jared Barber, Shaq Petteway and Isaiah Bruce) will depart after this year, which will give Crouser a shot at earning playing time. Of course, incoming recruits and rising backups will also be in the picture, but with a year of playing experience under his belt, Crouser doesn't figure to be overwhelmed.

"I will be coming as a walk-on, but I know what to expect, even though the play is at a higher level," he said. "I know I will have to get used to playing at a higher speed, but I am looking forward to that."

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