Making A Name For Himself

Two factors converged to lead Darreall "Dee" Joyner to a scholarship offer and commitment to West Virginia's football program.

Darreall Joyner had an excellent junior season for Fitzgerald High School in Fitzgerald, Ga., but it wasn't producing the recruiting results he had expected. Even though the junior put together an impressive highlight reel in just one season at the school, he wasn't getting the recruiting interest that such production deserved. So, in consultation with his father, he decided to move back to Miami to live with his mother and attend Miami Central for his senior season. Joyner had previously attended Miami Springs for two seasons before moving to Fitzgerald for his junior year.

The move also had another supporting factor. Joyner's mother and infant sister had been involved in a serious car wreck, and his move back to Miami would allow him to provide support and care for his two family members.

"They are doing well now," Joyner said of his mother and sister, who just turned one. "It was pretty serious, but they are doing o.k. I had moved to Georgia to be with my father and play at Fitzgerald, but I just wasn't getting the recruiting attention. I did want to finish my career there, but we both thought this was a better move for me. And this way, I could be here in Miami with them."

It didn't take long for the move to pay dividends. In spring practice, Joyner immediately attracted the interest of WVU assistant coach Robert Gillespie.

"West Virginia saw me make a few big plays this spring, and a few days later I heard from them about an offer," he said. "I like their style of offense a lot. As a wide receiver, of course I like an offense that throws the ball, and they do that. I want to get the ball and make plays."

Since Gillespie first made contact with Joyner, the pair built a good relationship, although one that isn't necessarily based on football first.

"Coach Gillespie, he is a comedian," Joyner said, punctuating his statement with a laugh. "Every time he calls, we talk and laugh about a lot of different things. I really like him, because he cares about me as a person and not just as a guy to come and play football. He wants to help prepare me to be a man."

Those factors were the largest ones in Joyner's decision to commit to WVU, even though he hasn't visited the campus yet. He plans to schedule a trip soon.

On the field, Joyner has deceptive speed. He has been timed at 4.4 in the 40-yard dash, yet he doesn't count raw speed as one of his top skills as a receiver.

"I have worked really hard on my route running, and I think that's one of the things that allows me to get open," he analyzed. "I think I have good hands, and I'm not afraid to go across the middle and catch the ball. I know there are a lot of big, tough linebackers in there who want to knock you out, but you have to be tough yourself to go in there and catch the ball."

Joyner's spring practice showing led to offers from Illinois, Wake Forest, Minnesota and Bowling Green as well as West Virginia. In the end, however, it was the offense and interest from WVU that put him in the Mountaineer camp.

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