Wake from thy summer slumber, football fans — the sport we love is back.
As West Virginia kicks off fall camp today and officially starts the 2018 season, former Mountaineers at the NFL level will also usher in the start of a new year.
At 8 p.m. tonight, The Chicago Bears and the Baltimore Ravens will take the field in the annual Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio. While the NFL preseason is nothing but a watered-down version of live football that serves mostly as an extended audition for UDFA’s and fringe players, it also provides a (small) sneak peek at more established players who are trying to advance their career.
For West Virginia fans, tonight provides just such an opportunity to check in on former Mountaineer stars Nick Kwiatkoski and Kevin White.
White, a 1,400-yard monster during his senior year at West Virginia, has done little more than struggle since being drafted by Chicago in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft. After a slew of season-ending injuries, White is betting on himself in what is surely his last shot at success in Chicago. If recent reports from around the Bears organization are to be believed, White is in the best shape of his professional career and has impressed in preseason activities. Hopefully, the 6’3″ freak that terrorized Big 12 defenses will finally rear his fearsome head in the NFL and prove that he’s not a bust.
On the other side of the ball, Kwiatkoski has steadily improved his standing in the Bears linebacking corps and is currently taking reps with the first-team defense. Kwiatkoski, a fourth-round selection by the Bears in 2016, was a converted safety who went on to have an incredibly productive career at West Virginia as a linebacker. His skills in both pass coverage and run stoppage are a boost for Matt Nagy’s defense.
Between White’s last shot at fulfilling his first-round potential and “Kwit’s” steady rise to the top of the Bears’ depth chart, there will be plenty of compelling storylines for West Virginia fans to keep their eyes on tonight.