2018 Position Preview: Safeties
Less than a week away from the WVU football season kicking off, and all the talk around the country is about how the defense will perform while having one of, if not the most electrifying offense in the country.
West Virginia’s secondary will be anchored by a fairly experienced safety unit. Leading the way is redshirt senior Dravon Askew-Henry. Henry has started 39 games for the Mountaineers, received preseason Third Team All-American honors, First Team All-Big 12 honors, and is projected as the 19th best safety to enter next year’s draft.
Henry will share most of his time on the field with fellow redshirt senior Toyous Avery and true sophomore Kenny Robinson.
Avery has started in six games throughout his years as a Mountaineer, and was selected as a preseason All-Big 12 Fourth Team honoree.
Meanwhile, Robinson had a great freshman year last season. He was voted on by the coaches as an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention. Robinson looks to have an even better year, as a preseason All-Big 12 Third Team selection, he will strive to push himself even further.
Playing in all 13 games and making eight starts, Robinson was tied for the team lead in interceptions with three. His season highlight may have been that 94-yard pick he had against Texas, or his first career interception against Oklahoma State where he also took it back 39 yards for a score.
Next is, Josh Norwood, who was a redshirted freshman from Ohio State. In 2016, he appeared in 11 games, recording eight tackles and a pass breakup.
Last season, Norwood spent his time at Northwest Mississippi Community College. He finished with 71 tackles and an interception, all while being ranked as the number two junior college safety in the country.
Adding depth to the safety position is junior from Katy, a powerhouse in Texas, Jovanni Stewart
Expect to see a lot of Stewart on special teams, as his athleticism gives him a great chance to block punts and field goals. Stewart has appeared in 25 games as a Mountaineer and made his first start at safety last season against Oklahoma State.
The last one on the list is a player people are excited about. Kwantel Raines is the biggest safety on the roster coming in at 6’3″ and weighing 200 pounds. He also happens to be a 4-star recruit and the 17th best safety in the class of 2018.
Raines is the younger cousin of Askew-Henry and their style of play shows their relationship. He also likes to play physical, because he is bigger than the average safety.
Don’t expect to see much of Raines this year, as the new redshirt rule might be perfect for him and allow him to appear in four games without losing that year of eligibility.