Lee Kpogba joined the West Virginia football program early in the offseason.
He came to Morgantown after a year of playing at East Mississippi Community College, aka “Last Chance U.”
After being indefinitely suspended by Syracuse in February 2021, the former three-star recruit became an NJCAA All-Region selection. He was one of the most highly touted junior college athletes in the transfer portal and ultimately landed with the Mountaineers.
“I feel like I’m fitting in with the team well. Like, I’ve been here for a while now, going on six months,” Kpogba said earlier this week. “Me and the guys have pretty good relationships. I’m starting to see myself take on more of a leadership role.”
Kpogba was quickly thrusted into one of the defense’s key positions, mike linebacker.
That’s partly because it didn’t take long for him to impress teammates and coaches alike.
“He never has a bad day. He’s attacked workouts. He’s really done a nice job learning, so I am excited for him because man, he’s going to get so many reps,” head coach Neal Brown said before the start of spring practice. “We start March 22. How much better is he going to get by April 23?”
“He’s ultracompetitive. I think I saw him talking trash to a tire the other day as he was flipping it. So, he didn’t have to have a competition from a human, you know?” added defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley. “He’s got that mentality that you want at that position.”
While Kpogba later said that he wasn’t necessarily talking to the tire, the competitiveness and ability he has displayed so far this offseason have been eye-catching.
“So, I’m trying to set the example in everything I do,” Kpogba said. “Whether it’s working out, or you know, just how I carry myself.”
As a redshirt junior, the Winston-Salem, North Carolina native is preparing for his fourth season of college football. It will be his third at the Division I level.
Having been around the block a few times, Kpogba understands that he has one thing that other incoming players on the team might not have.
“I’m older, basically one of the older guys on the team,” he said. “So, I’m trying to set the example for some of the younger guys who are just getting to college and, you know, might not have an idea what college is like. I’ve experienced it already. I just try to help them.”