Dravon Henry could be the next great player from Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.
The No. 140 player in the ESPN 300 for the Class of 2014, Henry turned down offers from Pittsburgh, Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State and others to sign with West Virginia. He could join Daryl Worley to give the Mountaineers one of the top young cornerback duos in the Big 12 as early as this fall. Before he arrived on campus earlier this month, Henry took time to chat with ESPN.com about his decision and his expectations for the future.
What are your expectations for the summer?
DH: Get in there, work hard, learn the playbook fast and get familiar with college and being a college football player.
In your conversations with the coaches, what have they told you about your potential role during your freshman year?
DH: As long as I work hard and learn the playbook, they say I will play.
The plan is to play cornerback?
DH: Coach [Tony] Gibson says he wants me learn corner and safety. I really don’t know which one they want me to play yet. I’m all right with that; it doesn’t matter to me.
Do you want to play offense at all?
DH: Strictly defense. I’m really not thinking about offense. I might return kicks, though.
Who was your football mentor?
DH: Darrelle Revis [his cousin]. He’s my favorite player, close family member. He’s taught me a few things.
How much pride do you take from being from Aliquippa with the reputation it has for producing football stars?
DH: I take a lot of pride in it. I take that everywhere I go. You can’t forget where you come from. I’m happy I’m from here. When I go to West Virginia, I’ll take it with me.
You had so many schools after you. What put West Virginia over the top?
DH: Coach Gibson. He was, out of all the coaches I talked to, one of the coolest coaches.
Did anything else stand out?
DH: The atmosphere when I went up there. I was close friends with Rushel [Shell] before he even went to West Virginia. I used to go to his apartment and the atmosphere. The love you get, it’s unreal.
When you look at your freshman year, what is the best-case scenario?
DH: I think I’ll have a big impact because I’m a hard worker and the coaches said if I work hard, they’ll fit me in somewhere.
What have people who have been through it, like Rushel, told you to expect?
DH: The game speed is going to be different. They said the first two weeks will be slow, rough, but after that, you get used to it. But basically the speed, going from high school to college, it’s going to be a little bit faster.
What do you feel like will be your strengths?
DH: I’m a fast learner, real competitive.
Heading into the offseason what did you want to improve?
DH: I’ve hit the weight room a lot, to prepare for college and just getting ready to compete with people who are as good as you. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. They’ll make me better, I’m going to make them better. I like the competition.
How much did playing in the Big 12, a conference known for passing and great receivers, play into you decision?
DH: A lot. I wanted to be a defensive back. I was looking at the conferences and it looked like the Big 12 passed the most. I wanted to go somewhere I could make plays and it seemed like in the Big 12 all they do was no-huddle, pass this way, pass that way, and I looked at that as an opportunity.
Do you have any goals, not just for your freshman year but college career as a whole?
DH: I have a lot of goals, but I’ll give you just a few. Go out and give it my all every play and carry the No. 6 a long way and make it be known forever. That’s a big goal for me.