Here’s what WVU football’s seniors are doing with their extra year of eligibility

Gold and Blue Nation

MORGANTOWN, WV – NOVEMBER 14: West Virginia Mountaineers tight end T.J. Banks (85) lifts West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver T.J. Simmons (1) into the air after Simmons scored on a 38-yard pass during the fourth quarter of the college football game between the TCU Horned Frogs and the West Virginia Mountaineers on November 14, 2020, at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, WV. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

This unique year has afforded fall athletes across the country with a unique opportunity — stick around for one more year with an extra season of eligibility.

Darius Stills, DT: The Fairmont Senior alumnus is heading to the NFL after his consensus All-American season. This is an unsurprising move, as he publicly mused the prospect of going pro after his breakout 2019 season, as well.

Stills finished his career with 85 tackles, 25.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks. Along with his All-America honors, he was named Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year for 2020.

Austin Kendall, QB: After finishing his tenure at West Virginia on a high note, Kendall has signaled his intention to finish his career elsewhere.

After losing his starting job as a junior, Kendall took over at halftime of the Liberty Bowl to lead WVU to a comeback win, completing eight of 17 attempts for 121 yards and two touchdowns.

TJ Simmons, WR: After earning an MVP award for his seven-catch, 148-yard performance in the Liberty Bowl, Simmons stated that would be his final game with the Mountaineers.

“My experience at West Virginia for the last three years has been amazing. The fans have embraced me. Everybody on each staff has embraced me. All my teammates I came in contact with have embraced me. I just love the state of West Virginia,” he said. “This was my last game as a Mountaineer. I am grateful for the experience and I am ready to see what the next chapter in my life holds.”

Simmons played in 22 games with West Virginia and reeled in 86 catches for 1,197 yards and nine touchdowns.

Tony Fields II, LB: Fields was a breakout star for West Virginia’s stout defense as the mike linebacker after joining as a graduate transfer for Arizona. He announced ahead of the bowl game that he would opt-out of the contest and prepare for the NFL Draft.

He finished the season with a team-high 88 total tackles, a sack and an interception.

Mike Brown, OL: The fan favorite offensive lineman has officially called his college career a “wrap.”

The Compton, California native made his debut in 2018 after joining WVU from junior college. In his three-year career, he appeared in 25 games and was a regular starter as a senior.

Alonzo Addae, CB: Addae was another breakout star for WVU on the defensive side of the ball, tying for the team lead with a pair of picks on the season. He says he will stick with WVU for one more year.

Jeffery Pooler, DE: Another key piece to WVU’s defense, Pooler announced on Twitter that he is making “one more run.”

The Dayton, Ohio native will bring back a wealth of experience which includes 38 appearances in the Old Gold and Blue. This past season, he notched 23 tackles, including six tackles for loss and three sacks.

Dylan Tonkery, LB: Dylan Tonkery is moving on from football after his senior season. One of the most tenured Mountaineers on this year’s roster, Tonkery finished with 41 appearances in the Old Gold and Blue, 120 total tackles, 6.5 sacks and a highlight pick-six this season against Kansas State.

Sean Mahone, S: The Ohioan officially announced on Instagram that he will be sticking with the Mountaineers for another season.

Mahone played in all 10 games this season, finishing with 54 total tackles, five pass defenses, an interception and a fumble recovery.

Evan Staley, K: After missing much of 2020 with a lower body injury, Staley is coming back to the Mountaineers.

Chase Behrndt, OL: Chase Behrndt carved out a key spot for himself on the WVU offensive line as the team’s center, appearing in 33 games in his career. Behrndt has implied the end of his career on several occasions on social media.

Dante Bonamico, S: The former walk-on will not be returning to the Mountaineers in 2021. He indicated as much in an interview with the Tribe Talk Podcast on the Indians Radio Network, noting that he could not have ended it his career in “a better way or with a better group of guys” after WVU’s win in the Liberty Bowl.

In his career, Bonamico appeared in 40 games and logged 39 total tackles. He also made a memorable highlight against Oklahoma in 2019, when he caught a fake punt from Josh Growden.

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