MORGANTOWN - Tyler Anderson has come a long way since walking onto West Virginia's football squad in 2009.
After being redshirted that year, the 6-foot-2, 244-pound Morgantown High alumnus has seen action mostly with special teams in all 13 games in 2010 and 2011.
Anderson is expected to start at defensive end in the season's opener against rival Marshall on Saturday, Sept. 1.
He was moved from linebacker last spring.
He also was named recipient of the 2012 Tom Nickolich Award as the team's top walk-on.
Anderson had added depth at strong side linebacker in 2011.
"I've come a long way since my freshman year," Anderson said. "I'm getting bigger, stronger and prepared for what's going to happen.
"There were frustrating times as I worked myself up the ladder. Every opportunity I had to work out, I took advantage of it.
"I've taken a lot of reps and have took advantage of every opportunity that I've had."
He did point out, however, that he really didn't like being on the scout team as a freshman. But he admittedly worked hard at that, though.
Anderson recalled that it was a big change for him coming across town from MHS, where he was a two-time all-state election for the Mohigans.
"I didn't feel like I do now," he continued.
Anderson played stand-up linebacker as a sophomore in high school and, for his last two years, he played linebacker.
If he had a choice, he indicated, it would be linebacker.
But he's settled in nicely at defensive end now. He does like West Virginia University's new defensive scheme.
Anderson believes the new defense gives a player more chances to make plays in the 3-4.
"Defensively, we have come a long way," Anderson said. "Now everybody is excited and we all know what to do.
"We're playing better as a unit. We're competing against the offense a lot better."
In the meantime, WVU quarterback Geno Smith returned from his Miami home for Monday's start of fall semester classes.
Smith attended the funeral of his grandmother and spent two or three days back home visiting his family and friends.