According to Sports Illustrated, West Virginia linebacker David Long has suffered a torn meniscus and will miss the first month of the season. He reportedly suffered the injury during some off-season conditioning work. Rumors of the injury have been swirling for a short while, and if true, it is a significant blow to the Mountaineer’s defense.
Long, a three-star member of the Mountaineer’s 2015 class, has developed into one of coach Dana Holgorsen’s biggest weapons. After redshirting his freshman year, he played in all 13 games last season, and started in 10 of them. He recorded 65 total tackles on the season, including a season high of 11 tackles in the Russell Athletic Bowl against Miami. He has a knack for disrupting offenses.
The Mountaineers have a big test to open the season against Virginia Tech on September 3rd, and losing Long for the game hurts. Not only is Long one of their biggest stars on defense, West Virginia does not return a lot of depth on that side of the ball. Long is one of just three returning starters.
Redshirt freshman Dylan Tonkery will become a bigger part of the rotation during Long’s absence, and there is some good news. linebacker Brandon Ferns, who was a top-150 recruit in 2016, will return to the defense after redshirting due to a knee injury last season