You’re already talking about this, and the news has been out for a while, but I figure this deserves it’s own space because of the profile of the player, the injury, the impact, the reaction and the everything this means to everyone:
Karl Joseph suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice Tuesday and is out for the season.
“I am devastated and heartbroken for Karl,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said Wednesday. “He is a young man who has given everything he has to our football program and University over the past four years and who elected to return to WVU for his senior season to earn his degree and to be a part of something special with this team. He exemplifies what it means to be a Mountaineer. Karl is an All-American, a fierce competitor, a leader and I know he will have a full recovery, and I can’t wait to watch him on Sundays next fall.”
Joseph was named National Player of the Week by the Football Writers Association of America, Jim Thorpe Defensive Back of the Week and the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in game one against Georgia Southern.
“I want to thank my teammates and my coaches for their outpouring of support,” Joseph said. “This has been difficult for me and my family but I know I will come through this stronger than ever. I will forever be a Mountaineer and will be cheering on our team every step of the way.”
Joseph is one of my all-time favorites, and I’ve gone through old stories today to feel better about this and remember things like the beginning and not the ending, because this is just awful. Joseph considered entering the NFL draft last season but decided he wanted to get his degree, which he’s due to earn in December, and improve his draft positioning. The season was but four games old, but he was having an All-America season. I don’t want to field questions about his draft status now because it’s a bummer and because the answer is obvious.
What happens next, I don’t know. Nobody knows. How could they? In the past two seasons, Joseph missed about 25 total snaps on defense. He played 947 of 957 snaps last season. He’d always had a backup, but at the same time, there’s never been a backup.
Jarrod Harper or Jeremy Tyler will get bumped up. They’re juniors, program guys who have progressed, developed and matured with time. They might be good players, and they were going to play next season anyhow because Joseph and K.J. Dillon are seniors, but the future is now and neither one of them has all the first-team reps from the spring and fall to precede this accelerated elevation.
You don’t plan for these things because no one wants to consider the worst-case scenario, and this is just about it for the Mountaineers. Dillon plays the most important position. Nobody is more important than Joseph.