MORGANTOWN — WVU linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo was firm that Saturday against Texas will be his last home game with the Mountaineers.
With the extra COVID-19 year, he could have come back in 2022, as can many of his fellow senior teammates who might walk during the pregame Senior Day presentation. The only seniors who cannot come back are safeties Alonzo Addae and Sean Mahone, kicker Evan Staley, and kicker/punter Tyler Sumpter — all used their extra season in 2021.
But Chandler-Semedo graduated a year early and is currently working on his master’s degree, which he is expected to finish this school year.
Coming in as part of the 2018 class, as well as a few members of the 2017 class, Chandler-Semedo has had about as unique a college football experience as any player could imagine.
A coaching change, followed by a pandemic, and ending with more player-friendly rule changes like the immediate transfer eligibility, and Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), have culminated in four years of highs and lows.
“It definitely has turned more into a business than you would think,” Chandler-Semedo said. “People say college is going to continually progress, but it has hit fast. Like the transfer portal, it’s like free agency now. Like NIL, you can make money like a pro. Coaches get hired, coaches get fired. “I’ve been through six different position coaches in four years — six, really. It’s crazy. The one thing that’s consistent is the game and teammates. You have to lean more on that.”
There are 13 seniors on the roster, nine of which can return in 2022, though Chandler-Semedo already said he will not use his extra year. Like with the 2020 senior class, many players are simply ready to hang up the cleats and move on with life after football.
Head coach Neal Brown said there isn’t any pressure yet to see who is going to come back, with two games remaining as the Mountaineers (4-6, 2-5 Big 12) try to become bowl-eligible. Because of that, players have the option to walk Saturday whether they ultimately decide to return next season or not.
“I wouldn’t take a whole bunch of credence in who walks and who doesn’t walk,” Brown said.
“Last year’s senior class could have come back but a lot of them didn’t have NFL futures. They were kind of tired. It’s hard. It really is. Everybody sees all the perks and rewards and stuff, but it’s a lot of work. A lot of them had already graduated or had their master’s and they went about their life. You have discussions, whether we want you to come back or whether they want to come back. You take the emotions out of it and present the information.”
For Chandler-Semedo, he played in what he called the biggest game of his career as a true freshman against Oklahoma in November 2018, which was coincidentally Senior Day for several of the veterans who took him under his wing.
At the time, his own Senior Day felt so far away for Chandler-Semedo, but the time is already here.
“There will definitely be some emotions. I remember seeing those guys,” he said. “At that point, I’m not sure I understood it, but being at this point now, you’ve poured a lot into the program. There were good times, memories with teammates and I feel it will all hit me at one point. But then, 20 minutes later you’re out there playing a game, so you can’t let it hit you too much.”
Running back Leddie Brown
Quarterback Jarret Doege
Defensive tackle Dante Stills
Linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo
Safety Alonzo Addae
Linebacker VanDarius Cowan
Wide receiver Isaiah Esdale
Safety Sean Mahone
Safety Scottie Young
Kicker Evan Staley
Kicker/punter Tyler Sumpter
Linebacker Deshawn Stevens
Safety Quamaezius Mosby