Growth Factor

With one year of experience under his belt, redshirt freshman running back Daquan Hargrett has entered his second summer at West Virginia with newfound confidence.

While Hargrett didn't see any game action for the Mountaineers in 2009, the lessons he learned through a year of workouts, practices and scrimmages have done a great deal to bolster his approach to the game. The bonds he has developed with teammates and the knowledge he has gained are making this summer's work more beneficial to the running back, who had several impressive performances during the spring.

"Summer is going good," said Hargrett. "Everyone is working hard. We have good intentions and good team work. It's going pretty good. We're going to have a good fall this year. [This year] I'm more used to the system. I'm good friends with everyone. I have a great bond with everyone. When you have that family bond, you feel more comfortable. I think the coaches get a better understanding and you get a better understanding of the coaches. I have one year in the system so I'm pretty confident this year."

Hargrett credits much of his recently gained knowledge and confidence to his mentor, veteran running back Noel Devine. The fellow Florida native said that Devine has taught him a lot about the work ethic needed to be successful at the collegiate level.

"I've learned so much from him," said Hargrett. "[He's taught me] to just work hard every day and give 100 percent commitment and 100 percent effort in everything you do. You have to leave everything you have in the weight room. Just go hard every day and you'll be satisfied. "

While many West Virginians were shocked when Devine decided to return and play at West Virginia for his final year of eligibility, Hargrett was not taken by surprise. "I wasn't necessarily surprised," said Hargrett. "I knew whatever decision he would make would be the best for him. To play with him for another year, that's a blessing for me."

While Devine's return certainly will cut into Hargrett's potential playing time this year, he clearly believes that having Devine as a teammate for another year will help his own development. In the short term, it will affect the number of carries he gets, but in the long view another year of learning from one of the best backs in the nation should be nothing but a positive. That's a clear reflection of the maturation process Hargrett has worked through during his year on campus, and it bodes well for his future as he works to become WVU's feature back in 2011 and beyond. He's certainly not giving up on this year, however.

"[I think I'll be used] more when Noel goes down," said Hargrett. "I think me and Shawne Alston will be stacked up and give that extra boost that the team needs when Noel can't get it."

Hargrett has set some definite goals for himself for the rest of the summer, and wants to achieve them before practices begin the first week of August.

"I want to get my bench [press] up," said Hargrett . "I need to work on my upper body. I need to get that powerful. When I get stronger, I will have better progress. [More upper body strength] will help with blocking. When I get hit sometimes I have to turn and that comes from having a weak upper body."

After showing several strong runs during the spring, it is something of a surprise to hear Hargrett list strength as a shortcoming. Again, though, it's a testament to the growth he has shown in his outlook on the game and his approach to it. If he faces every challenge as he has done to this point during his Mountaineer career, WVU fans will likely have another outstanding running back to cheer for in the years to come.

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