Running back Wendell Smallwood, like Karl Joseph, will get drafted this weekend. Smallwood, like Joseph, enrolled in January, the former a year after the latter. And Joseph did not care for the impression Smallwood was attempting to make in his first spring with West Virginia and, more importantly, against Joseph’s defense. It would not stand.
“I kept getting first downs and he was like, not crying, but he was yelling at me, ‘You get one more first down, I’m going to kill you,’ ” Smallwood remembered. “I’d just gotten to school. I’m like, ‘Oh, man. This kid’s’ crazy.’ Then we get off the field and he’s on the sideline next to me, like, ‘What’s up? What are you doing out there?’ ”
All of that recognition goes into what makes each player. It’s as quintessential as winter workouts, spring drills and fall performances. Their reputations are earned and exhibited without apology.
“I don’t mind it at all,” Joseph said. “It’s not something I’d say I care much about, but I like it. Anytime I can get in somebody’s head and make them game-plan differently or think about how they’re going to run the ball on my side, that’s a plus.”