Askew-Henry all the way back in action
Dravon Askew-Henry is back at free safety after tearing knee ligaments in 2016 and pushing himself back into the mix in the offseason.
Kyzir White had a few other college to pick instead of West Virginia last year, and in the end he chose the Mountaineers over Penn State and USC. As recruits are prone to do during the process, they think about who they’ll compete against and who they’ll play with on the roster, and White was intrigued by being his brother Ka’Raun’s teammate and by playing alongside fellow safety Dravon Askew-Henry.
And why not? Askew-Henry was a freshman All-American in 2014 and a key figure in a defensive backfield that recovered and rolled along after safety Karl Joseph's season ended after four games in 2015.
“I was really looking forward to playing with him,” White said. “We were talking a lot before the season ever started. It was my first year, and he was telling me, ‘Look, we’re going to have a great year together, and we’re going to feed off each other,’ and I was excited.
“Then he got hurt, and I was really sad about that.”
Askew-Henry tore the ACL in his left knee on Aug. 10, right in the middle of the second week of practice last season. He missed the season and all of the spring. He was medically cleared during the summer, and he practiced with the team Sunday as the Mountaineers opened preseason camp.
“Sunday was exciting,” the junior from Aliquippa, Pennsylvania said. “I was glad to be back with my teammates. It felt good.”
It’s not accurate to say Askew-Henry merely practiced. He took every rep that the drills and the coaches made available to him. He never sat out. He never asked out. He was never taken out. He doesn’t plan on changing that, either.
“Unless the coaches tell me, ‘Hey, Dra, you’ve got to come out,’ I’m not taking myself out,” he said.
This is how Askew-Henry made it back. When he had to walk or jog laps around the practice field in the spring, he did a few more than he was asked to do. When the team was in the weight room or out on the field working out in the summer and 10 reps were required to finish one task and head to another, Askew-Henry fit in 12 or 13.
“He’s not hesitating,” said White, the starting spur safety. “He’s feeling really good. He has his brace on, and he’s moving around and playing fast. It’s been really good just seeing him back on the field. After a devastating injury last year, to see him flying around is a good sight to see.”
Askew-Henry never doubted that he’d be back on the field and in the middle of the defensive backfield. He’s had a few examples to follow. NFL cornerback Darrelle Revis, who preceded Askew-Henry at Aliquippa High, went through it. Askew-Henry’s favorite NFL player, Arizona safety Tyrann Mathieu, went through it. Joseph went through it.
Not only that, but each went through it and found success after it.
“I’d seen it can be done,” Askew-Henry said. “All I’d say to myself is, ‘What’s so different for me? Why can’t I do it?’ I feel if I put the work in, I can do anything.”
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