Waiting His Turn

When the West Virginia football coaches began looking at freshman running back Daquan Hargrett, they were under the impression that the Florida native was five feet, ten inches tall. Once they saw him in person, they realized he was much shorter, but that didn't affect their evaluation of him as a player.

With so many scouts and recruiting services focusing on "measurables", the actual playing ability of an individual can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. That doesn't happen at WVU, where it's performance on the field and suitability to the system that counts for more.

"It was actually funny," admitted Hargrett, when asked about the discrepancy. "I'm actually 5'6". When people see me I know they're going to be like ‘Wow, I thought he was taller.' It will be funny."

Despite the difference, Hargrett still fits in with the build of many of West Virginia's running backs, both past and present. The line of players that preceded him, and their similar statures, has helped him to be more comfortable as he works his way into WVU's system.

"I feel very, very comfortable," said Hargrett. "If I would have went to any other school I would have probably been the shortest guy, but here I feel comfortable. We all look like midgets in the back field."

While a back that stands tall in the lineup might have some advantages, there are a few perks to being shorter. One is the ability to hide behind blockers as the play develops. Backs such as Hargrett, if they are patient, can glide, read the block, then squirt through an opening while defenders search for them through the maze of bodies along the line of scrimmage. That's something that fellow runner Noel Devine has done well, and something that Hargrett hopes to emulate.

Devine has been helping Hargrett learn that trick, among others, and the Florida native is pleased with his progress so far.

"I've done well," said Hargrett. "I've been learning from Noel [Devine], Mark Rodgers and the wonderful Coach Beatty. I'm learning from all of the guys and the experienced coaches. I'm doing pretty well.

"I bring a little more speed," Hargrett said of the abilities he brings to the Mountaineer team. "There's nothing new in what I'm bringing, but I just contribute. Of course we have Noel; we have Jock [Sanders] so I am just adding on to what they already bring."

With all of the depth at running back, many of the freshmen have to accept the prospect of little or no playing time during their first season. Hargrett realizes that he will have to prove himself and work his way up the depth chart in order earn playing time.

"I accept [the role of a freshman] very well," said Hargrett. "I'm being very, very patient. I know there are older, more experienced guys in front of me so I'm just waiting. I'm sure when [Devine] came he couldn't play. I'm just learning and accepting that everything takes time. That's how it was in high school; I didn't come out and start right away then. Getting playing time will come sooner than I think. I'm going to be patient. Noel is a great, tremendous, back. Mark Rodgers is a great, tremendous back. When my time comes it comes.

"Whatever the coaches decision is that is what will be best for me," said Hargrett of the potential for redshirting "They have my best interests in mind. I would love to play as a true freshman but if they decide to redshirt me, I don't have a problem with it." "When I get a chance to get on the field, you will see how good I am."

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