Walkon Makes Mark

David Igono. He's certainly not the first name that pops into the minds of Mountaineer football fans. But with the way the senior walk-on has been playing in spring practice, he seems determined to change that.

No, Igono isn't going to step in and replace Pac-Man Jones. In fact, Igono's role may be limited to special teams and spot duty on defense. But Igono's story, and his road to the mountains of West Virginia, deserve attention.

The 6-foot, 215-lb. defensive back is at his fourth college. He initially enrolled in Arizona State before landing at Northern Arizona. He then played two years of junior college football, where he graduated with an associate's degree in December.

After earning that degree, Igono had one year of eligibility remaining, and he wanted to make it count. He found his destination on New Year's Day. Igono had always followed Florida State, and sat down to watch the Seminoles take on the Mountaineers in the Gator Bowl. Throughout the telecast, Igono paid attention to the commentators alluding to the potential departure of Pac-Man, arguably WVU's top defensive player. That was his cue, and Igono quickly sent tapes to the coaching staff and enrolled in classes a week later without seeing the campus.

"From my point of view, when you want to play, you don't care about specifics," Igono said. "You want your shot. I came out here blindfolded, but it's working out so far."

He was relieved when he finally made it to the Mountain State.

"Not surprised, but more vindicated, because I work hard. To finally see that light at the end of the tunnel," he said. "I walked in to see the stadium through those windows, I was like, ‘wow.' It's a big deal, but at the same time, you are here to play football. You aren't here to see sights."

The Arizona native adjusted to the change in climate (he got sick for the first time), and has began to prosper on the football field. Igono picked off a pass in last Saturday's intrasquad scrimma ge, and followed that up with two more interceptions in practice on Monday. One of the interceptions, Igono took back for an easy touchdown. The second, he made a spectacular one-handed catch to corral the ball.

"One thing I learned is that you can't be a flash in the pan," he said. "If you really think that one play or a week or so of practice is really going to set your name out there, you are setting yourself up for a big fall.

"All I'm trying to do is show that I can play. I'm not going to get those plays everyday. I'm going to get beat. I'm going to make great plays and there's going to be days where you don't call my name at all."

Igono hopes his athleticism and playmaking skills will garner some attention. He has shown a knack for always being around the football.

"You've just got to prepare cause you never know when they're going to put you on the field," he said. "You've just got to work hard and trust that your talent will be seen on the field."

Igono is getting most of his reps at cornerback, but could also see time at the safety positions.

"I'm a football player. I'm the type of guy you can't necessarily stick me at one position," he said. "Wherever I can play thats where I want to be. Wherever I can help the team."

The bulky corner, who said his size was his best asset and his speed was coming along, is otherwise just happy to be back in a uniform.

"I just want to compete. It's one of the few sports where talent isn't everything. You need to compete every single play. I thank God for the opportunity to compete. I just want to play."


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