MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Heading into the season, an area of concern for WVU was its secondary but rest assured the defensive backs are progressing.
“Our corners have had a few good practices, especially Hakeem Bailey,” defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said. “He’s a guy that keeps making play after play. He’s got some picks. He’s got some nice pass breakups. I think he’s doing a really good job. Elijah Battle is solid, doing everything he needs to at this point. Mike Daniels. So we got some guys. Corey Winfield is a new addition. He’s learning and I think hopefully as we get deeper in camp, he will be able to make some more plays for us. Trying to bring some young guys along, too.”
Gibson wasn’t the only one singing the praises of Daniels, Battle and Bailey. Cornerbacks coach Doug Belk is impressed with the trio thus far.
“Mike Daniels Jr. and Elijah Battle have been the guys we expected to take the leadership roles and step up, but obviously Hakeem Bailey has done well since he’s been here and I expect a lot from him as well as the young guys that are starting to get a lot of reps and we’re seeing how to respond to different situations since it’s their first time really getting quality reps,” Belk said.
A name floating around camp that may be unfamiliar to some is Nate German. He is a 6-foot-1, 209-pound wide receiver, hailing from Cyprus, Texas.
German was a graduate transfer from Rice that enrolled over the summer and has been turning heads during camp.
“I have thrown a lot at him, giving him a ton of reps,” offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said. “I think the kid has the right mind set. You can tell that he has played a lot of football. He was actually a quarterback at Rice at one point and then he has been a receiver. He has played at the college level. Really right now he is trying to figure out the offense and all of the ins and outs of it. He can hopefully get out there and help us. I have been pleased with how he is so far, we just have to keep repping over these next two weeks and developing him and getting it to where he starts to think slow is what I’m trying to accomplish with him.”
Versatile Receivers… Check
Replacing Shelton Gibson and Daikiel Shorts won’t be easy but the Mountaineers have a variety of wide outs that can perform different tasks well, giving WVU a versatile threat that it may have lacked in the past.
“I feel like we can’t go wrong with who we have out there,” receivers coach Tyron Carried said. “The great thing is (redshirt junior quarterback) Will (Grier) knows how to feed the big guys and the fast guys. He is not going to feed the big guys something he would give a speedster. In the realm of my room, as far as receiver, I have everything that I need.
Dravon Askew-Henry watch
Dravon Askew-Henry hasn’t played football in a year but the redshirt junior is expected to be a major difference maker in the Mountaineers’ secondary.
As a freshman he was an All-American and as a sophomore he started in every game. Before suffering his season-ending knee injury last camp, he was expected to tear it up that fall.
With the first week wrapping up, Askew-Henry is right on track.
“Four practices in and no complaints from his end, no complaints on my end,” safeties coach Matt Caponi said. “Still cleaning up a few things but as the leader that I thought he would be. Getting the guys ready and flying around. No complaints on my end about what he’s been doing.”
Cover Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose