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Tony Fields II pushes decision back as West Virginia trends for graduate transfer LB

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The Longhorns were considered the favorite when Fields announced he would make a decision on Monday morning, but the Mountaineers made a move as Fields delayed his commitment.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 24 Arizona State at Arizona Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A decision from former Arizona Wildcats linebacker Tony Fields II will happen on Tuesday morning after the graduate linebacker pushed back an announcement originally set for Monday.

When Fields said he would make his decision on Monday morning, the Texas Longhorns looked like the favorite after Fields took a self-guided tour of Austin last week. But something changed on Monday morning, as the West Virginia Mountaineers began to trend for the 6’1, 220-pounder.

After national writer Chris Hummer put in a 247Sports Crystal Ball pick for Texas on Monday morning, Longhorns recruiting insiders Mike Roach and Nick Harris quickly put in picks for the Mountaineers.

Texas has a need at the position due to a lack of proven depth — Fields would add speed and range to a Will linebacker spot that often used junior college transfer Juwan Mitchell there last season. With Mitchell now expected to compete with redshirt sophomore Ayodele Adeoye at the Mike position, Fields would have the opportunity to battle junior DeMarvion Overshown at Will following Overshown’s offseason move from safety.

As for West Virginia, the Mountaineers don’t necessarily provide an easier avenue to playing time. Redshirt senior Dylan Tonkery could compete at Will linebacker, but he also has experience playing West Virginia’s rush linebacker position and at the Mike, the two roles that he played in 2019. Junior Josh Chandler-Semedo was the primary starter at Will linebacker last season, finishing as the team’s second-leading tackler following nine starters, seven at Will.

When Texas has lost out on graduate transfers in the past, including on Towson running back Shane Simpson, it’s generally been because the Longhorns lacked the clear path towards playing time that other schools could offer. With Fields, that’s not obviously the case, but based on the pessimism Monday morning, there’s an increasingly likely chance that head coach Tom Herman and his staff will suffer arguably the most surprising recruiting loss in the graduate transfer market since Herman arrived in Austin.