He’ll forever be remembered as one of West Virginia’s greatest defensive players, and he didn’t even play a full senior season. Karl Joseph’s hard-hitting ability and knack for interceptions have landed him in top national standing.
On Thursday, Joseph was named to the CBS Sports All-American Second Team. The safety appeared in just four games as a senior, due to a knee injury in October. He was injured right before the Mountaineers’ home game against Oklahoma State. West Virginia suffered four-straight losses in October to Oklahoma, OSU, TCU and Baylor.
It might not be a coincidence that the Mountaineers played their worst without Joseph’s services. Through the first four games (three WVU wins), Joseph led the nation with five interceptions had he had 20 tackles, which was second on the team at the time.
Joseph was the Eastern College Athletic Conference Player of the Week and Jim Thorpe Defensive Back of the Week after the Mountaineers 44-0 win over Georgia Southern in Week 1.
Joseph had such a promising season ahead of him until the knee ailment which surprisingly came during a practice before the OSU game. He was in a large cast and walked around on crutches during that game, an overtime loss to the Cowboys. Joseph was seen encouraging players on the sidelines and even made a stop in the coaches’ box to talk with safeties coach Joe Deforest and cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell.
"“He played a big part in our scheme,” said cornerback Daryl Worley. “He was the heart of our defense.”"
He was the heart and soul of Mountaineer Nation, too.
On Senior Night, Joseph received the loudest ovation of all 20 seniors when they were announced before the game against Iowa State. He still walked slowly, with a noticeable limp, but managed to stay on his own power, though he was emotional.
Joseph will forever be remembered as one of West Virginia’s most feared defensive players and he could be considered one of the best secondary players of all-time.
The injury shouldn’t hurt his NFL Draft potential. Earning the All-America nod shows that people out there still believe in his talent. Next year, professional teams should embrace his skills, also.