Dravon Askew-Henry was one of the sure-fire components of the 2016 season for the West Virginia football team.
Askew-Henry had the leadership, experience and all-out skills to be one of the best safeties in the Big 12 Conference and in the entire country. Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, and more so Askew-Henry, himself, he will miss the entire campaign.
Askew-Henry was definitely one of the most consistent and reliable players in the Dana Holgorsen-era at West Virginia. He started all 26 games in the past two years and was in the top five in team tackles a year ago.
Askew-Henry was a quiet leader, who let his performance on the field do the talking. He was most certainly the most valuable player on the WVU defense, especially because the Mountaineers lost most of their veteran guys to graduation following the 2015 season.
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The Mountaineers also lost Karl Joseph to injury a year ago. He was out for the entire Big 12 Conference slate in 2015. He, too, had a season-ending knee injury. Joseph, though is back in action playing for the Oakland Raiders after he was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. He may see some action in upcoming preseason games.
Askew-Henry won’t see the field for quite some time. He has an entire life of football games to be played in the future, so right now, he needs to take all the surgery and rehabilitation seriously. His work ethic in the past suggests he will do whatever is necessary to get back on the field, and in workouts in the most efficient way possible.
Because he will miss the entire 2016 season, his junior campaign, Askew-Henry will likely be eligible for a medical redshirt so he can have two years of college football opportunities.
The Mountaineers sorely needed Askew-Henry in 2016. They’ll need him, again, in 2017 and 2018.
Askew-Henry would have been the face of the defense this season. The Mountaineers needed a strong secondary, and Askew-Henry was the most talented of the bunch. The unit is now led by redshirt senior Jarrod Harper, who filled in admirably for Joseph last season.
Also, underclassmen like Kevin Williams and Deamonte Lindsay will see enhanced playing time, alongside other veterans Shane Commodore, Jeremy Tyler and Marvin Gross.
Askew-Henry would have fit nicely in that rotation, too. Without him in the secondary, Big 12 teams may look to pass even more against the Mountaineers in 2016.
They might as well take advantage of the fact that the team’s best secondary player will be sitting on the bench.
As if West Virginia didn’t have an uphill climb, already, in the 2016 season, this adversity just gives a chance to see how the team will rally from an early setback.