Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Aliquippa's Henry Makes Early Impact

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Aliquippa's Henry Makes Early Impact

Article excerpt

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Karl Joseph knew the hurdles freshman Dravon Henry would face as West Virginia's starting free safety, so Joseph, a junior, asked the coaching staff early in fall camp that the two be roomed together on game days and road trips.

"I asked that for a reason," Joseph said, "because I knew how it is coming in as a freshman."

Joseph arrived at West Virginia as a three-star recruit from Orlando, Fla., two years ago and started all 13 games as a freshman. He led the Mountaineers in solo tackles (76), forced fumbles (three) and interceptions (two) and was named West Virginia's defensive player of the year.

But, he, too, had his head spinning early. When he met Henry, a touted prospect from Aliquippa, and saw "a hungry guy" who was asking questions and eager to learn, Joseph took him under his wing.

"I knew he would be nervous in his first few games," Joseph said.

After a quiet first half of the season, Henry intercepted Oklahoma State quarterback Daxx Garman twice in West Virginia's 34- 10 road victory Saturday and returned the second pick 52 yards up the right sideline for his first touchdown since he was wearing Aliquippa's black and red.

Those freshman jitters?

"That's behind him," Joseph said. "We don't even see him as a freshman anymore."

It takes a village to bring a freshman up to speed, and Henry has had plenty of help.

Six hours before West Virginia's Sept. 20 kickoff against Oklahoma, Henry tweeted a screen capture of a phone call between he and "Revis24" -- that, of course, would be Aliquippa native and New England Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis.

"Just got off the phone with big bro," Henry wrote. "Time to turn up [tonight]."

Henry earned West Virginia's weekly "defensive champion" title this week for his performance against the Cowboys, but coach Dana Holgorsen said it wasn't just because of the interceptions.

It is almost expected, Holgorsen said, that freshmen will "hit a wall and digress" at some point in their first season. …

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