Roster Review: specialists

Gold and Blue Nation

Evan Stalley kicks a field goal against Kansas State. (Photo by William Wotring/Dominion Post)

Neal Brown wants to see consistency from his special teams units this upcoming season. As far as the specialist go, the Mountaineers return plenty of experience, including one of the top kickers in program history, Evan Staley, and are only tasked with replacing one starter.

In our final roster review for 2021 season, let’s a closer look at the WVU specialist.

Evan Staley (K) — redshirt senior

Staley has handled kickoffs and field goals for the past four years. He was WVU’s starting kicker in 2020 and played in six games before suffering a season-ending knee injury against Kansas State. He made 6-of-9 field-goal attempts. He announced this offseason he will be using his extra year of eligibility with the program.

The Romney native has kicked in 40 total games over four seasons as Mountaineer. He ranks No. 6 in program history in extra points made, 115 of his 116 career attempts. Staley also ranks No. 7 in field goals made with 39. His 49-yard field goal against Kansas in 2018 is tied for the 10th longest in WVU history.

Tyler Sumpter (K/P) —redshirt senior

Sumpter started his career at Troy under Neal Brown and played for the Trojans through 2019. He reunited with Brown at WVU in 2020. He appeared in nine games last season. He made 3-of-4 field-goal attempts, including 2-of-2 against Iowa State for the Mountaineers only points on the contest. His longest of the year (36 yards) came against the Cyclones. He made 1-of-2 in the Liberty Bowl. He handled the punting duties last season.

Casey Legg (K) — redshirt junior

After redshirting in 2018, the Charleston native appeared in five games in 2019, primarily handling kickoffs. He was the kicker in four contests that year and connected on 4-of-6 attempts. That season, he nailed a career-long 51-yard field goal, ranking No. 7 in program history.

Legg took over Staley’s role after his injury in 2020. Last season, he played in seven games and made 5-of-7 field goal attempts and was a perfect 9-of-9 on PATs.

Evan Matthes (P) — redshirt junior

Matthes redshirt in 2018 and did not see game action in 2019 or 2020.

J.P. Hadley (LS) — redshirt junior

Hadley redshirt in 2018 and did not see game action in 2019 or 2020. He was competing against Austin Brinkman for the starting long snapper spot this spring.

Kolton McGhee (K/P) — redshirt sophomore

McGhee redshirted in 2019 and appeared in four games as a punter in 2020. His longest punt was 51 yards.

Leighton Bechel (K/P) — redshirt sophomore

Bechel redshirted in 2019 and did not see game action last season.

Kaulin Parris (K/P) — redshirt freshman

The Bluefield native redshirted last season.

Danny King (K/P) — redshirt freshman

He made a 26-yard field goal doing the Gold-Blue game.

Austin Brinkman (LS) — redshirt freshman

After redshirting last season, he’s competing against Hadley for the starting role.

Departures: starting long snapper Kyle Poland

Other 2021 roster reviews:
Safeties
Cornerbacks
Linebackers
Defensive line

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