Hometown: Irwin, PA
Record: 19-7, Bowl Record: 1-1 including a BCS win
So as you can imagine, the cupboard was pretty bare at #54. With not much to choose from as far as big name players, I decided to go with a player who has a lot of upside coming into this season. Hunter Bittner has spent his entire career in Morgantown as a back-up linebacker to this point. He originally committed to playing football at Clarion, but transferred to West Virginia after his freshman season. He saw limited action the past two seasons, serving mostly as scout defense this past year. With the departure of Najee Goode and the inconsistent play out of some of the other linebackers last season such as Josh Francis, Doug Rigg, and Casey Vance; there will be ample opportunity for Bittner to earn increased playing time. He might not be a Mountaineer legend by the time he hangs them up, but it is players like Bittner that form the glue of great teams.
Memorable Game: While Hunter did not see the field this past season, he did win the honor of Defensive Scout Champion for the Maryland game this past season. The Mountaineer defense would need a big performance to ward off a Terrapin upset in College Park. West Virginia was all over the Terps early in the game, jumping out to a 34-10 lead early in the 3rd quarter. Maryland fought back, keeping the Mountaineer defense off balance with a well balanced mix of running and passing. The defense would step up when it counted, picking off an errant Danny O’Brien pass late in the 4th quarter to seal a 37-31 victory, keeping the Mountaineers undefeated to that point in the season.
Competition: I agree; anybody who played for the Mountaineers would have been a better selection for this spot. The problem is finding photos for any of the other players. I really would have preferred going with a lineman like Scott Barrows for this selection, but I could not find a photo of him in WVU uniform. If nothing else, I am banking on big things from Mr. Bittner this season. Hopefully I will be able to look back on this pick in January and think “that was a good sleeper pick.”
Teaser: There is no snoozing on tomorrow’s selection. This linebacker was a destroyer for the Mountaineers. He dismantled opponents that ventured into Mountaineer field just like Ronnie (Ortiz-Magro) dismantled the Situation during Season 4 of the Jersey Shore. I know, it’s deplorable that I watch reality television, but what else do you expect from Generation Y?