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Freshman Corner is Impressing, Challenging for Starting Spot



WVU defensive coordinator Vic Koenning giving instruction to his safeties. Koenning has seen potential in his young cornerback Nicktroy Fortune.(Photo by Christopher Hall)

It’s not often that you hear about a true freshman starting at cornerback in the Big 12 Conference, but for West Virginia’s Nicktroy Fortune, that may be the case.

Most young corners are not physically ready to go up against some of the best receivers in the country week in and week out in the nation’s most pass-heavy conference. However, head coach Neal Brown slipped a small little nugget that Fortune has been impressing the coaching staff and so much that he is actually in the mix for a starting spot.

“He’s a guy at corner that has made some serious moves and is challenging to be a starter,” Brown said.

Fortune was also noted by Brown as one of the guys that made big jumps from the first scrimmage to the second scrimmage along with fellow freshmen Kerry Martin Jr. and Tykee Smith. Earlier this month defensive coordinator Vic Koenning also eluded to Fortune’s development and how important how he can play a role in this year’s defense.

“We’ve got Nicktroy [Fortune], who is a young guy that is going to have to come in and give us reps there and he’s going to be in direct competition with the other guys. He’s got a big-time corner body, so he’s going to have to give us an influx of help,” Koenning stated.

At 6-foot, 190 pounds he gives the Mountaineers some length which will be much needed when trying to cover these big and long framed receivers in the conference. Growing pains are expected for all true freshman, but especially at a crucial position like corner. There will be times when he gets beat for a big first down, touchdown or is simply in the wrong place due to a lack of communication, but keep in mind, he’s a freshman. Fortune will also have his fair share of pretty good plays that will make you excited about his future considering that he’s making plays at a young age.

Regardless of how many good and/or bad plays he makes, it is all about gaining experience at this point. Two to three years down the line, it will have been beneficial to him to have been thrown in the fire in year one. Koenning also pointed out how moving Josh Norwood from corner to safety thinned out the corner position and how it will be important for the younger guys to step up and they can’t afford to play like a true freshman all of the time.

With a little over one week until kickoff, it will be interesting to see if the young freshman can lock up a starting spot. Even if he doesn’t, expect him on the field a bunch as he will certainly be in the rotation.

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