The last line of defense may be the most important, but which Mountaineer safeties in history gave opponents the toughest chance to score?
The nominees for today’s poll span generations and have instilled fear in opposing offensive coordinators and ball carriers across the country, so the decision may be difficult. Cast your vote to help us determine which two safeties deserve a spot on the All-Mountaineer Team.
If you need to refresh your memory, take a look under the poll for a brief cheat sheet on each nominee’s career.
Tom Keane (1946-1947): Keane is one of the more unique nominees for the All-Mountaineer Team. The Wheeling native began his career at Ohio State before serving 20 months in the U.S. Navy. After his discharge, he joined the Mountaineers for two seasons, nabbing 5 picks in his final season. He was inducted to the WVU Sports Hall of Fame.
John Mallory (1965-1967): WVU’s Most Valuable Player in 1967, Mallory still holds the school record with 7 punt returns for a touchdown. On defense, he picked off 10 passes in his career, taking two back for touchdowns — but his mark in the pros would be made on special teams, where he was a successful punt returner for the Falcons. He was inducted to the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.
Bo Orlando (1985-1988): A key piece to the Mountaineers’ undefeated 1988 squad, Orlando intercepted three passes in his senior season, taking one of them for a touchdown. That wasn’t the beginning of his WVU Sports Hall of Fame career, though — the Pennsylvania native grabbed his first pick as a freshman in 1985, and grabbed a total of 5 in his career at WVU. He went on to play 10 years in the NFL.
Mike Collins (1990-1993): Collins was a tackling machine for the Mountaineers in the secondary. For his career, he brought down 310 ball carriers, while also adding 56 tackles for loss, a sack and 7 interceptions. He appeared in 45 games in his career, adding two touchdowns from the defensive side of the ball.
Jahmile Addae (2001-2005): After playing just three games in his freshman year, Addae broke out as a sophomore after grabbing 4 picks and amassing 94 tackles in 2002. After his 2003 season was cut short, he went on to play two more seasons with WVU in 2004 and 2005, finishing with 189 tackles, 8 interceptions and two forced fumbles. Now, he’s an assistant coach on Neal Brown’s staff at WVU, and his cousin, Alonzo, is a redshirt senior cornerback.
Karl Joseph (2012-2015): Before making a name for himself in the pros with the Raiders and now the Browns, Joseph was one of the hardest-hitting safeties in college football. He forced 8 fumbles in his career — the second-most in program history — and added a pair of sacks. His senior year got off to a real hot start when he intercepted 3 passes against Georgia Southern, but his college career was cut short when he suffered a season-ending injury in practice after just four games.
If you missed yesterday’s poll, it’s still live. Here’s a full list of our daily polls, including the ones yet to come:
- Running back (click to vote)
- Wide receiver (click to vote)
- Defensive line (click to vote)
- June 27: Tight end/Fullback (click to vote)
- June 28: Offensive Line (click to vote)
- June 29: Quarterback (click to vote)
- June 30: Cornerback (click to vote)
- July 2: Offensive Flex (based on high vote-getters)
- July 3: Defensive Flex (based on high vote-getters)
- July 4: Kicker/punter
- July 5: Head Coach
- July 6: Full reveal of the All-Mountaineer Team