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July 4, 2014
Today marks the day in this proud country when families flock to a local park or high school football stadium to gather and celebrate patriotism with pride. Enjoying hot dogs and hamburgers off the grill, they await nightfall for the proudest display of America.
The bright, loud and explosive fireworks show.
In honor of the Fourth of July, WVSports.com is looking at the four most explosive athletes on the WVU football roster. Just like the big time American fireworks show, WVU is hoping these athletes create big time fireworks this fall.
The four most explosive athletes on the WVU Roster:
4 - Wendell Smallwood - RB - Sophomore
As only a true freshman in 2013, Smallwood proved he was ready to play at the top level of college football. Rushing, catching and returning the football, Smallwood is a great weapon in Dana Holgorsen's offense. Having followed former Mountaineer and now Tampa Bay Buccaneer Charles Sims every minute of last fall, WVU is ideally hoping for him to play in the same role as Sims. Though he may not exactly equate the production Sims had a year ago, with a multifaceted game and a great burst of speed, Smallwood can make defenses sweat when he is on the football field. If he has as good of a fall camp as he had during the spring, Smallwood could be the number one back this fall.
3 - Brandon Golson - OLB - Senior
For any defense to have success, pressure on the quarterback has to be constant. The opposing signal caller has to be uncomfortable. For West Virginia, Brandon Golson is the guy to throw the quarterback off his game by applying pressure. In his first season at WVU coming over from Georgia Military College, Golson totaled four sacks. This year that number is expected to increase. With the additions of Shaq Riddick and Ed Muldrow, Golson will likely be more advantageous situations. More one on one situations against slower footed tackles or smaller backs trying to chip Golson off the edge, won't be enough to slow his tenacious speed.
2 - Karl Joseph - FS - Junior
Since he was a true freshman, Joseph has been known for his bone-jarring hits. Terrific in run support, Joseph is like a linebacker playing safety. In just two seasons he has totaled 172 tackles. An enforcer for West Virginia, Joseph uses a different form of explosiveness than the other guys his list because he can through people. For the past two years, Joseph has been the bright spot for some bad Mountaineer defenses. Now that the defense has a chance to be better, Joseph will have to be good once again for the unit to improve like they want to improve.
1 - Mario Alford - WR - Senior
Some guys are just faster than others. Alford has the straight-line speed off the line of scrimmage to be any corner matched up against him. At first last year, Alford struggled to adjust to the FBS level. He couldn't quite get a feel for playing slot receiver. With large expectations of possibly filling the shoes of Tavon Austin, it maybe wasn't fair for Alford to have to deal with that expectation, since he maybe didn't have the same skill set. Though Austin had the straight-line speed, he had a little more wiggle than Alford and could elude defenders by dancing around them easier. Once Alford was put at outside receiver, he proved the explosion and the ability to burst past a corner. Entering 2014, Alford is comfortable at outside receiver now and has just one quarterback to catch passes from, so 2014 should be a year where his speed is showcased.
West Virginia NEWS