The West Virginia cornerback made his return from a two-game suspension after being reinstated to the team prior to the Mountaineers’ game against Texas Tech last week. Worley, 19, had missed WVU’s games against Oklahoma and Kansas after an incident at a Morgantown nightclub following West Virginia’s win against Maryland.
Police said surveillance video of the incident at Lux, an 18-and-up nightclub on High Street in Morgantown, showed Worley grabbing a woman by the neck and shoving her to the floor.
Worley’s defense attorneys would later claim that the sophomore corner was protecting his girlfriend when he grabbed the other female. Worley pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault, which features a maximum of six months in jail, and received a six-month suspended sentence. He was placed on probation through Aug. 1, 2015 and ordered to have no contact with the victim.
“I certainly let down everyone involved,” Worley said. “From the coaches, to everyone involved in this program and anyone that has any association with West Virginia, I feel like I let them down. I apologize for that because it was a poor decision on my part.”
One of the first things Worley did was apologize to his teammates.
“When I made my apology to the team, I told them there was a possibility that I could have lost everything,” he said.
“It brings tears to my eyes when I sit and think about it, because I know a lot of people don’t really get two (chances).”
When he got word that he had been reinstated by the University, allowing him to continue participating in team activities again, Worley was back to being happy once again. He understood how lucky he was to be back in action, and others could tell a big difference in the promising defensive back.
“There was a time I came into our weight room last week and Coach (Kevin) McCadam, one of our strength coaches, said, ‘That’s the first time I’ve seen you smile in a month,’” Worley said. “It was one thing I sat down and thought about. I did feel different when I got back to playing football.”
Worley is making his return at a time when the West Virginia team will need him the most. The Mountaineers played Texas Tech a week ago, and have Baylor this week, bringing him back against two of the most prolific passing teams in the Big 12 Conference.
He admitted that it took a little while to get back into the flow of things. Through the first three games of the season, before his suspension, Worley was leading the team with two interceptions and also had a pass break-up and three tackles for loss.
“If anything, I feel like I wasn’t playing with the level of confidence that I left the Maryland game with,” Worley said. “That just came from the amount of snaps I missed from games and practices. After halftime, I felt like I was back to where I left off and my legs were under me and my confidence was back.
“I wasn’t where I left off. That’s just something I have to keep continuing to work at every day and get better. Hopefully, I get better than where I left off.”
While a lot of players might be more willing to come in and get back into the swing of things against teams that rely on their running game much more than the likes of Texas Tech and Baylor, Worley wanted to embrace that challenge to make sure he wasn’t going to skip a beat when he came back.
“You’re not used to running around the field for 60 minutes (when you come back), so you have to get back to being used to that,” Worley said. “If anything, I would have liked to be thrown into the fire like this – just to show people what I’m made of.
“This is where I was meant to be.”