Junior Safety Shane Commodore Primed For Increased Playing Time At West Virginia

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - With West Virginia's thinner ranks in the defensive backfield, safety Shane Commodore has taken advantage of additional opportunities this spring.

Commodore, a 6-0, 205 pound safety out of Morgantown High, was listed as the third team bandit coming into spring. That position was elevated the the back-up unit when starter Jarrod Harper was held out of contact action during the sprung after offseason shoulder surgery, and Commodore has shown some range and ability to man multiple slots. He's played both spur and bandit in the past - and actually saw game snaps at free safety in spurts -  and should be able to do the same if needed this year.

"I'm working to get more active in the defense, earn some more playing time," said Commodore, a former walk-on. "I'm playing bandit now, but as a group we are trying to know all the positions in case anybody goes down. ... I'm pretty competitive. I knew when I first came here it would take some time, but I'm confident with myself that I can compete with anybody."

Commodore played in five games last season as a redshirt sophomore, making three tackles, including two in the loss at TCU. Those were his first career stops one year after being named the Scout Team Champion for his prep role entering the game at Iowa State. Now it looks like the versatile defender, a former WVSSAC Class AAA second team honoree, will see increased time this season, even with the return of Harper to the line-up entering fall camp. Commodore is currently playing behind Jeremy Tyler, with Marvin Gross, Deamonte Lindsey and Dylan Tonkery the top three at spur.

"We have a lot of guys who might not have played as much as the guys we lost, but everybody wants to prove themselves," Commodore said. "People are saying we aren't going to be as good, but we want to be even better."

Commodore listed Tyler as a player to watch that is also running under the proverbial radar. He noted Tyler, a rising senior, "makes plays. He is one of the oldest in our position group so you learn to look up and follow his example."

Tyler played in 12 of 13 games last year - he missed the Texas Tech game due to a death in the family - while finishing with 20 tackles, 19 solo, and seeing an increase in time after the injury to Karl Joseph sidelined the All-American for the remainder of the season after just four games. Tyler saw action on 404 plays, 279 defensively, and seemed to peak as the season progressed in establishing a new career high in tackles with four in the 43-42 Cactus Bowl win over Arizona State. Even as the two battle for what figures to be the back-up role, there's mutual respect from both, and an understanding that Commodore has another two seasons left, but must continue to fend off additional talent being recruited to the program. That includes four safeties recruited to the team in the 2016 class, including Scout.com four-star junior college transfer Kyzir White, who figures to begin his career at spur.

Below, check out a clip of the secondary running through backpedal and shuffle drills under the watchful eye of safeties coach Matt Caponi. Tyler (No. 24) and Commodore (38) listen after the initial portions of the drill as Caponi instructs, then moves onto thudding up the ball carrier.


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