Good morning! This is the Shotgun Throwdown, your daily West Virginia sports roundup.
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West Virginia football senior running back Leddie Brown has been named to the watch list for the Doak Walker Award, which is awarded to the top college running back in the nation. Heading into the 2021 season, Brown was named to the All-Big 12 preseason second team by Athlon Sports, Lindy’s, and Phil Steele’s Magazine. In 2020, he was an All-Big 12 First-Team selection and hit the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the first time in his career.
After a year of restrictions caused be COVID-19 fear, the West Virginia athletic department is prepared to fully reopen Milan Puskar Stadium with little to no restrictions in place for this football season. Mountaineer fans can also return to tailgating before games this year.
Last season West Virginia finished fourth in the country in total defense, permitting just 291.4 yards per game, which was the best finish by a Big 12 defense since Oklahoma ranked third by giving up just 259.6 yards per game in 2003.
West Virginia head coach Neal Brown gave the media a tour of the recently renovated Milan Puskar Center, the home of Mountaineer football. The facility has $55 million in renovations nearly completed.
The Milan Puskar Center is home to the West Virginia football team’s locker room and coaches’ offices and has received significant upgrades over the past two years.
Former West Virginia football coach Bobby Bowden has been diagnosed with a terminal medical condition. Bowden served as the WVU head coach from 1970 to 1975, before going to Florida State in 1976. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
The schedules for some of college basketball’s early-season tournaments have been announced, including the 2021 Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic featuring West Virginia. Is WVU the team to beat in this tournament or could people be sleeping on the Mountaineers?
Former West Virginia pitchers Jackson Wolf and Ryan Bergert have officially signed deals with the San Diego Padres organization after their selection in the 2021 MLB Draft. Wolf was honored as an All-Big 12 Second Team pitcher after the 2021 season and Bergert missed the 2021 season.
Former West Virginia guard Chase Harler has signed with Jämtland Basket, a team that is based in Östersund, Sweden, for the upcoming season. The team competes in Basketligan Swedish, which is the top tier professional basketball league in Sweden.
After struggling mightily during the “Elam Ending” and nearly being eliminated in the opening round of The Basketball Tournament (TBT), Best Virginia displayed better execution down the stretch to secure a 63-51 victory over D2 in Charleston.
Around the Big 12
Texas and Oklahoma have reportedly reached out to the SEC about joining the league should the two leave the Big 12. The SEC would become a 16-team “super conference,” if it added the Longhorns and Sooners, and other schools, like West Virginia, would likely have to find new homes as well.
Check out which Big 12 football players are candidates on preseason watch lists for 2021 national awards, including West Virginia’s Leddie Brown, Dante Stills, and Jarrett Doege.
Around the NCAA
Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney has said that neither he nor his players are in favor of an expanded 12-team College Football Playoff, but he also knows that change is inevitably coming to the format.
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