There have been a few West Virginia natives to make names for themselves on defense over the last ten years, including guys like Scott Gyorko, Jeff Noechel, Marc Magro and Reed Williams. A new name has surfaced this spring and has climbed his way to the top of the depth chart.
Tyler Anderson, who played at Morgantown High School, saw himself as the starting defensive end. Anderson played linebacker in his first three years, but with the new defensive scheme going to a 3-4, the coaches thought he would be better suited as a hybrid Outside Linebacker/Defensive End.
In the new scheme, one of the outside linebacker spots is called the Buck. They are known to bring the heat off the edge and put pressure on the quarterback, but also drop back into pass coverage. Defensive End in this scheme is similar to what Bruce Irvin did last year for the Mountaineers. You put your hand in the ground on the defensive line and bring pressure.
"They're both pretty much the same," Anderson said. "In [the Buck], you have a little bit of drop responsibility but it really doesn't matter to me.
"Coaches only have us out there for three or four plays in one spot. They have us moving a lot."
Anderson has been tested in many different spots since he has been at WVU. If you want playing time, you need to be able to show the coaches that can you play several positions.
"When [Jeff] Casteel was here, I had to learn all three linebacker spots and now I've moved to End and Buck," Andersons said. "The Buck position is not difficult to learn. It's an easier concept than what it was last year.
"It's great whenever a coach tells you to go play this position and he trusts you to go play another position and do the right responsibilities, it's a great opportunity. There's always more room for improvement and that's what everybody has to do right now."
Although he had offers from several schools back when he was being recruited in 2008-2009, Anderson decided to walk-onto the WVU football team. As of now, he has yet to earn a scholarship with the Mountaineers.
"Truthfully I just come out here and play," Anderson said. "I'm not too worried about that and I'm just worried about getting on the field and making plays."
Since West Virginia is a BCS program and is playing at the highest level of college football, Anderson realized early on that he could compete here and would eventually get an opportunity to play.
"Probably my redshirt freshman year when it was J.T. [Thomas], Reed [Williams] and all of those players," Anderson said. "Those players right there really helped me a lot. They motivated me and they recognized that I could play here and they told me to never stop working. They encouraged me a lot."
Jeff Casteel took his signature 3-3-5 defense with him to Arizona so co-defensive coordinators Joe DeForest and Keith Patterson brought in a more basic 3-4 scheme.
"I can't say there's a huge difference but there's some different things that we have to recognize," Anderson said. "Now it's just mostly to get to the ball. We're going to mess up a lot now but the coaches just like the effort and want us to get to the ball."
Back when Anderson was playing football for the Mohigans, he never thought he would have the opportunity to play Defensive End in college.
"I thought I was always too small," Anderson said with a smile. "When you see them on TV they're usually bigger guys."
Standing at 6'2 and weighing 244 pounds, Anderson has bulked up since his arrival on campus and has put himself into the position to play Defensive End at this level. Even with the weight gain, he has not lost his speed.
"Everything comes with speed," Anderson said. "You have to have speed for everything and to move linemen, you have to use your speed. With my weight and speed, I feel like I have a good chance."
Anderson hopes he can keep up the way he has played this spring and secure the starting spot when summer camp comes around.