MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU football head coach Neal Brown highlighted a noteworthy position change during Monday’s spring football press conference.
Redshirt sophomore Davis Mallinger will move from safety to wide receiver ahead of the 2023 season, according to the head coach.
Mallinger is entering his third season with the program and has appeared in 12 total games. He played in four games and recorded two total tackles while redshirting in 2021. Last season, he appeared in eight games and started four, used primarily at spear and on special teams.
But now, Mallinger will flip to the other side of the ball and join a wide receiver room that lost four of its top contributors after last season.
“He played receiver in high school, obviously played his first two years here at defensive back, but want to add his speed to the offense,” Brown said.
As of Monday afternoon, the redshirt sophomore was still listed as a safety on the team’s online roster.
That roster currently lists 11 players at wide receiver, but only two returners at that position — senior Cortez Braham and junior Jeremiah Aaron — caught more than 10 passes in 2022. The team’s top four pass catchers from a season ago — Bryce Ford-Wheaton, Kaden Prather, Sam James and Reese Smith — are either pursing professional careers or have transferred to new programs.
Brown said one of the keys to the spring for WVU is finding a standout at that position.
“I think it’s about who’s gonna be the guy,” the head coach said. “Who’s gonna fill that role of being kind of the go-to guy?”
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Brown also noted that Mallinger will not participate in spring practices as he continues to recover from the injury that ended his season in 2022. He’s among several players that will be out or limited over the next several weeks.
On offense, All-American center Zach Frazier will be restricted during spring practices. The head coach expects him to practice, but said he may be limited during “11-on-11 work.”
Running back CJ Donaldson will also practice in a limited capacity during the spring as he continues his journey back from a season-ending surgery. Wide receiver Graeson Malashevich will also be limited during the first week of spring ball.
On the other side of the ball, defensive linemen Zeiqui Lawton and Asani Redwood will miss the spring with injuries, while Jalen Thornton will be limited.
Brown expects many of these players to be full participants by the time summer workouts arrive in June.
WVU football will hold its first practice of the spring Tuesday.