WHAT TO LIKE
Toyous Avery is a physical player who always seems to be moving forward. Whether lining up as a strong safety, free safety, or heads up on a receiver in the slot, he’s working up to either jam receivers, make a break on the ball or get in on tackles on either short passes or running plays. At his current height and weight (6-0, 200 lbs.) he would seem best suited for one of West Virginia's three safety positions, but he could also grow into a outside linebacker spot somewhere down the road.
In pass coverage, Avery makes excellent breaks, and gets his hands either on passes or on receivers in order to prevent completions. He was fourth on the team in tackles with 69, including 39 solo stops, and his 5.5 tackles for loss show that he is comfortable operating at the line of scrimmage. In all, he's an aggressive player who should mesh well with West Virginia's defense, which features multiple positions at which he can play.
Avery didn't have the highest of profiles in terms of offers from other Division I schools. Although California, Colorado State, Kansas and Southern Mississippi were on board with offers, some Big 12 institutions, such as Texas Tech, apparently did not follow up interest with an offer. Some of that may be due to his path out of high school, which was marred by a shoulder injury during his senior season that limited his recruitment.
Avery will have to guard against being over-aggressive -- polished passers in the Big 12 are excellent at making defenders bite on fakes or play action -- but in the parlance of many defensive coaches, it's much easier to say "Whoa" than "Go". That reflects the thought that it's easier to teach a bit of caution to an aggressive player than to instill that quality in one that is less active.
Avery was one of a number of Red Wolves to earn all-conference honors at Coffeyville. He earned a spot on the league's second team, and also showed his ability to adapt quickly, as he picked off two passes (returning one for a score) in Coffeyville's season opening win this year. With lots of playing time up for grabs on West Virginia's defense this fall, the hope is that he will be able to adapt just as quickly to Division I play to help ease the loss of such stalwarts as Karl Joseph and K.J. Dillon
Still, there's much to prove for Avery, who had previously committed to Colorado State before making the move to WVU this past weekend, and he can't be expected to walk right in and fill the shoes of such players immediately. However, if he can be the sort of playmaker that he was at Coffeyville this past fall, he will certainly be in the secondary rotation when the Mountaineers hit the field for real game action in September.