The West Virginia defense will be without a returning starter when it takes on Alabama in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game Saturday in Atlanta.
Redshirt senior cornerback Ishmael "Icky" Banks has been suspended by the NCAA for three games — the entirety of the Mountaineers' non-conference schedule — due to "academic issues," according to West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen.
“For the first three games, he will be suspended but able to practice," Holgorsen said on the Big 12 coaches teleconference today. "He'll back for our Oklahoma game and the remainder of the Big 12 schedule after that. We're glad that he got it resolved and thank the NCAA for their ruling on that."
Banks started all 12 games at cornerback last season, making 32 tackles and two interceptions. Holgorsen will hope to plug the hole with senior Travis Bell and junior Terrell Chestnut.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: email@example.com and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.