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Dravon Askew-Henry & Karl Joseph Are West Virginia's Perfect Combination In The Secondary

The quick start to Askew-Henry's Mountaineer career has allowed Karl Joseph to blossom into one of the best Strong Safeties in America.

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

For his first two seasons in Morgantown, Karl Joseph was a bright spot in an otherwise abysmal West Virginia Mountaineer secondary. From the moment that he killed a man in Austin, Texas, Joseph's potential as a devastating presence in the defensive backfield was apparent.

The downside, however, was that everything around him was-to put it lightly-a sinking ship that may or may not have inexplicably been on fire. Joseph was, even as a freshman, the clear best player in the unit, but he was left on islands far too often and did not yet have coverage skills on par with his abilities as hitter and tackler. Suffice it to say, his first two seasons in Morgantown were disasters.

Teams grow up, though, and starting last season the Mountaineer secondary began to grow into its own. Players like Daryl Worley and Terrell Chestnut emerged at the corners, and a few years of good recruiting finally seemed to pay dividends for Dana Holgorsen's defense.

The biggest addition, in my opinion, was true freshman Dravon Askew-Henry. A highly touted prospect out of Western Pennsylvania's biggest football factory, Aliquippa High School, Askew-Henry was one of the most hyped defensive recruits West Virginia has ever landed. It's always a victory when the Mountaineers are able to go in and grab a Quip away from Pitt and Penn State, and fans had high expectations. Dravon Askew-Henry surpassed them by becoming a day one starter. The last time a true freshman came in to start on day one in this defensive backfield? Karl Joseph.

Having complimentary safeties--one who is great in coverage and one who is a heat seeking missile of pure destruction--is an awesome thing to have for a secondary, especially in a pass-happy league like the Big 12. After some expected freshman mistakes, Askew-Henry emerged to the first half of that equation, playing center field like a pro and preventing teams from going over the top.

This has allowed Karl Joseph to play free and wreak havoc in the defensive backfield. Bone crushing hits are the norm for Joseph, and the lack of the pressure that came with with being the only threat in the secondary has allowed him to grow in coverage abilities as well, as his three third quarter interceptions against Georgia Southern show.

West Virginia may have the best secondary in the Big 12 (and maybe the entire nation) and the perfect combination of Dravon Askew-Henry and Karl Joseph are possibly the biggest reason why.