Both Oklahoma State and West Virginia will be without experienced veterans on defense this weekend -- and for the rest of the season.
West Virginia announced Wednesday that safety Karl Joseph, who leads the nation with five interceptions, will miss the remainder of 2015 after sustaining a right knee injury. The injury occurred in a non-contact drill at practice on Tuesday.
Joseph has started 42 games for West Virginia over four seasons and is unquestionably a massive loss for the Mountaineers. In four games this season, he was second on the team with 20 tackles to go with the five interceptions.
Joseph was a first-team All-Big 12 selection last season and appeared destined to repeat the honor in 2015. He also looked like he could contend for the conference's defensive player of the year award.
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In a news release, WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said: “I am devastated and heartbroken for Karl. He is a young man who has given everything he has to our football program and University over the past four years and who elected to return to WVU for his senior season to earn his degree and to be a part of something special with this team. He exemplifies what it means to be a Mountaineer. Karl is an All-American, a fierce competitor, a leader and I know he will have a full recovery, and I can’t wait to watch him on Sundays next fall.”
CBSSports.com ranked Joseph as the No. 4 strong safety prospect in the 2016 NFL draft.
West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson tweeted that Joseph is the "best leader and player that I've ever had the privilege of coaching."
In my 21 years of football - #8 has been the best leader and player that I've ever had the privilege of coaching.— Tony Gibson (@TonyGibsonWVU) October 7, 2015
While no one can replace Karl, his impact on this TEAM and defense will be present as we move forward. The DAWG'S will be ready. #wearur8s— Tony Gibson (@TonyGibsonWVU) October 7, 2015
Oklahoma State is also down a veteran defensive player, with senior linebacker Ryan Simmons out for the year with a torn MCL and PCL.
There will be 73 career starts and 487 career tackles missing from Saturday's game with both Joseph and Simmons out.
Mark Cooper 918-581-8387