Back On Track

Two West Virginia football players formerly ruled academically ineligible allegedly had that eligibility restored by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

True freshmen cornerbacks Robert Williams and Guesly Dervil were ruled ineligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse in the midst of fall practice. The ruling cost each nearly 12 total practice sessions, and it was thought they could be lost for the season and their career because of the new Big East prop rule, in which the conference presidents voted 13-3 not to accept non-qualifiers. If they did not qualify, they could not play for West Virginia or any other Big East team.

Williams' high school transcript was flagged by the Clearinghouse, but upon appeal, the Cincinnati, Ohio, native was again deemed a full qualifier. Dervil's problem was his SAT score. When he originally inked with Illinois out of high school, Dervil failed to make the necessary score. He retook the test after staying home and studying for the ACT. (WVU accepts either the SAT or ACT scores.) His point totals jumped significantly, which is, at times, a red flag for the Clearinghouse. Dervil was made to retake the test, and he reportedly got a high enough score when he did such this past weekend.

The 5-11, 160-pound Williams was a likely redshirt candidate. Dervil, at a more developed 6-0, 180 pounds, was likely going to play as a true freshman in a reserve corner role with Kent Richardson. He might be able to do such still, but is not expected to play in the opener against Marshall on Sept. 2. He will battle Richardson and fellow true freshman and current corner reserve Boogie Allen for playing time behind starting cornerbacks Larry Williams and Antonio Lewis. Vaughn Rivers has solidified the backup role behind Larry Williams at the field corner spot, the position that demands better coverage skills.

WVU's coaches have thus far decided to play Allen, linebacker J.T. Thomas and fullback Max Anderson out of the freshman class.

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