Milum named to preseason team, Mountaineers picked 7th in Big 12 poll

MORGANTOWN — When the Big 12 preseason media poll came out last year, WVU head coach Neal Brown’s vacation was ruined.

Although West Virginia ranked much higher in the 2024 poll that was released Tuesday morning — seventh instead of 14th — the Mountaineers’ sixth-year head coach still won’t be very pleased.

“If you look at the early magazines, where do they have us picked in the Big 12? Not near the top, more in the middle,” Brown said during an interview with the Dominion Post last month. “So I don’t know if we’re being valued nationally at the level, maybe that we think we should be.”

Brown did not know the results of the preseason media poll at the time, but his doubts were realized as of the six teams picked ahead of WVU, only two — Oklahoma State and Arizona — had more wins than the Mountaineers’ nine last season.

“I still think we’re being undervalued,” Brown said. “If you look at some of the (projected) win totals that are out there. If you look at the preseason Top 25, we’re in a couple of them, but most of them were not in. How many nine-win teams from a year ago aren’t included in the preseason Top 25?”

Newcomer Utah was picked first in the poll, garnering 20 first-place votes. The Utes went 8-5 in their final season in the Pac-12. Kansas State (9-4) was picked second with 19 first-place votes.

2023 Big 12 runner-up Oklahoma State (10-4) was picked third with 14 first-place votes. The Cowboys lost 49-21 to Texas in the 2023 Big 12 Championship.

Kansas (9-4) and Arizona (10-3) both received first-place votes in fourth and fifth place, respectively and Iowa State (7-6) was the final team ahead of WVU in sixth place.

Ranked in order after WVU were UCF (6-7), Texas Tech (7-6), TCU (5-7), Colorado (4-8 Pac-12), Baylor (3-9), BYU (5-7), Cincinnati (3-9), Houston (4-8) and Arizona State (3-9 Pac-12).

If the Mountaineers set out to prove the voters wrong again this year, as they did in 2023, they will have a golden opportunity as the team’s first five conference games are all against teams that were ranked higher than them.

Beginning on Sept. 21, WVU will play five consecutive weeks against Kansas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Kansas State and Arizona.

Left tackle Wyatt Milum was named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Football Team and West Virginia was voted seventh in the league in two media polls released by the conference Tuesday morning.

Milum, a rising senior, has been a three-year starter for the Mountaineers since arriving on campus in 2021. The Spring Valley graduate was named second-team all-Big 12 after not allowing a single sack on over 750 snaps last season.

Milum will be stepping up to fill the shoes of graduated all-American center Zach Frazier and All-Big 12 guard Doug Nester.

“The pressure on Wyatt is to step in and be the leader that Zach was,” Brown said this spring. “Because now he’s the best player in that room and he’s ready for that.”

Oklahoma State running back Ollie Gordon II was named the Big 12 preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Gordon was arrested in Oklahoma Sunday morning on suspicion of DUI.

Colorado cornerback Travis Hunter was named preseason Defensive Player of the Year and UCF quarterback KJ Jefferson, a transfer from Arkansas, was named preseason Newcomer of the Year.

2024 Big 12 Football Media Preseason Poll

  1. Utah (20)
  2. Kansas State (19)
  3. Oklahoma State (14)
  4. Kansas (5)
  5. Arizona (3)
  6. Iowa State
  7. West Virginia
  8. UCF
  9. Texas Tech
  10. TCU
  11. Colorado
  12. Baylor
  13. BYU
  14. Cincinnati
  15. Houston
  16. Arizona State

2024 Preseason All-Big 12 Football Team

QB – Shedeur Sanders, Colorado
RB – Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State
RB – Tahj Brooks, Texas Tech
FB – Stevo Klotz, Iowa State
WR – Tetairoa McMillan, Arizona
WR – Kobe Hudson, UCF
WR – Jayden Higgins, Iowa State
WR – Brennan Presley, Oklahoma State
TE – Brant Kuithe, Utah
OL – Jonah Savaiinaea, Arizona
OL – Luke Kandra, Cincinnati
OL – Dalton Cooper, Oklahoma State
OL – Joe Michalski, Oklahoma State
OL – Wyatt Milum, West Virginia
PK – Tyler Loop, Arizona
KR/PR – Drae McCray, Texas Tech

DL – Tyler Batty, BYU
DL – Dontay Corleone, Cincinnati
DL – BJ Green II, Colorado
DL – Lee Hunter, UCF
DL – Junior Tafuna, Utah
LB – Jacob Manu, Arizona
LB – Nick Martin, Oklahoma State
LB – Collin Oliver, Oklahoma State
DB – Tacario Davis, Arizona
DB – Travis Hunter, Colorado
DB – Jeremiah Cooper, Iowa State
DB – Cobee Bryant, Kansas
DB – Mello Dotson, Kansas
P – Jack Bouwmeester, Utah