MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU players and coaches cannot stop name-dropping Beanie Bishop.
Bishop, a defensive back transfer from Minnesota, is one of five defensive backs that co-defensive coordinator ShaDon Brown believes will be a routine piece of the cornerback rotations come week one against Penn State.
“It was imperative that we found a guy that could lead and had an alpha-male mentality,” Brown said. “I didn’t know that coming in that Beanie would be this quick. I knew he had those characteristic traits about him. But he came in, and he’s a guy that’s going to hold people accountable, but he’s going to be accountable as well. If he makes a mistake, he’s going to own up to it and take ownership.”
In addition to Bishop, defensive backs Andrew Wilson-Lamp, Montre Miller, Malachi Ruffin and Jacolby Spells are all expected to receive meaningful snaps at cornerback this fall.
Brown used the term “alpha” a handful of times Monday when describing Bishop. While the personality element of that label is rubbing off on the WVU staff, his stats back it up too.
At Western Kentucky, Bishop earned All-Conference USA first team honors as a defensive back – and Conference USA honorable mention recognition as a kick returner – after the 2021 season. He was named the conference’s defensive player of the week on Nov. 6, 2021.
In 36 career games at WKU, Bishop tallied 76 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 12 pass breakups, three interceptions, and a forced fumble. He also returned 32 kickoffs for 799 yards (24.97 yds/ret) during his time with the Hilltoppers.
After the 2021 season he transferred to play for PJ Fleck at Minnesota.
He played in all 13 games last season for the Golden Gophers. He made 29 tackles, one sack, and was credited with one pass breakup. Eleven of those tackles came over a two-game stretch against Illinois and Penn State.
“We [needed] experience, and he’s got versatility,” head coach Neal Brown said. “He can play inside and outside. We need to get him ready to play. That’s why we got him.”
The Coaches Brown expect Bishop to be available at both outside and nickel corner, which is a tall ask for a player in a new system. Neal believes his experience coming into a Power-5 program (Minnesota) for a year will help him acclimate himself to another new school, something that Brown hopes rubs off on the other transfer newcomers Anthony Wilson and Tyrin Bradley.
“They’re obviously playing catchup on a couple things schematically,” Neal Brown said. “Just, athletically, you see some things that can really really help us.”
ShaDon Brown is more impressed with Bishop’s persistence on accountability. Even with just a few months in Morgantown under his belt, Bishop will not let his teammates off easy when the coaches aren’t looking.
“Something as simple as if [strength and conditioning coach Mike Joseph] says run through the line off the field, and a guy [finishes] a step before the line, [Bishop is] going to call them out,” ShaDon Brown said.
Because of his experience, he will be awarded luxuries in improvisation. The coaches trust his instinct, and they know he has a short memory when things go awry.
“He’s allowed to play free,” ShaDon Brown said. “And I know he’s going to make some mistakes because it’s a new defense, but he’s the kind of a guy [where] he can make a mistake because he takes ownership and shakes it off and moves on to the next play.”