Dravon Askew-Henry has had star potential since his teenage days with Aliquippa.
The small Pittsburgh suburb has produced such football legends as Darrelle Revis and Tony Dorsett.
Askew-Henry certainly has that same star potential.
He enters his junior season with the Mountaineers and has been a starter for the team since coming aboard as a freshman in 2014. WVU defensive coordinator Tony Gibson, who was the main recruiter of Askew-Henry, has had high faith in the 5-foot-11, 198-pounder these past three seasons.
Askew-Henry has started all 26 games over the past two seasons. The Mountaineers have gradually improved in those two campaigns and the 2016 season certainly has the makings to be even better.
Askew-Henry will be a big part of the progression.
Last season, he had 59 tackles, 47 of which were solo stops. He was in on 1,105 snaps, which was the most on the team.
That right there shows how trusted he is by Gibson and WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen. Plus, at such a young age, Askew-Henry was able to show off his skills as much as possible. He has gradually improved and, really, shows no sign of weakness.
Entering this season, Askew-Henry knows what is expected of him. Two years ago, he had to prove himself. Last season, he had to maintain himself. This year, he has to explode on a personal level to gain national notoriety.
The attention will come if he adapts to his new role as a team leader.
"“I used to be the one asking all the questions, but now I have guys asking me and I have to be ready to give them the answers they are needing to hear,” Askew-Henry told The Intelligencer. “This game is crazy. You can’t live on what you did last season. It’s all new this year and I am going to have to be a more vocal leader and I spent the spring working on that as well as working with the new guys and building our chemistry.”"
He’s had to deal with the expectations ever since he first suited up for the Quips in the pee-wee leagues. The expectation in the Western Pennsylvania town of old steel mills is to win each game. Obviously, at a Division I program like West Virginia, the expectations become a little more loftier.
Ever since he chose the Mountaineers on signing day, Askew-Henry knew what he was going up against. He knew that he was guaranteed a starting spot, though early playing time was a reason he picked WVU over rival Pitt.
He worked hard once he arrived on campus and hasn’t slowed down since.
Askew-Henry has the athletic ability and work ethic, plus the skills on the football field.
Learning from players like Daryl Worley, KJ Dillon and Karl Joseph (who are all now on NFL rosters), Askew-Henry developed a sense of what it really means to be a leader.
Plus, it looks like he learned some hard-hitting instincts from Joseph.
If Askew-Henry’s development stays on the track it is right now, he too will join his former teammates in the professional ranks.