West Virginia cornerback Daryl Worley, whose six interceptions ranked No. 2 in the Big 12 this season, announced Sunday night via Twitter his intentions to enter the NFL draft.
His college career spanned 28 starts. Worley was academically ineligible for last Saturday night’s 43-42 Cactus Bowl victory over Arizona State.
WVU’s defense faces a complete overhaul in 2016 with Worley and seven seniors leaving.
… Worley is not rated that high as he heads into the draft, however strong safety Karl Joseph is still ranked as one of the tops at his position despite his knee injury this season. K.J. Dillon, another safety who had a good season for WVU, is also ranked and could get drafted, but will likely be a free agent signee.
Linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski could also be drafted. He was one of the Mountaineers top tacklers the last couple of seasons.
Punter Nick O’Toole will likely be playing on Sundays. He could get drafted or signed as a free agent.
… Junior running backs Rushel Shell and Wendall Smallwood are considering entering the draft, but I’m sure the WVU coaching staff hopes they will remain in Morgantown for another season.
Noble Nwachukwu, a defensive end, who is a redshirt junior may also enter the draft, but will likely stay for his final season of eligibility.
… Two guards – Jaysean Paige of West Virginia and Iowa State’s Deonte Burton – are the first 2016 winners of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Player and Newcomer of the Week. WVU captures a weekly honor for the first time this season, while Burton is recognized for the second week in a row. He is one of three Cyclones to earn a conference weekly accolade in 2015-16.
… If former WVU point guard Juwan Staten makes it to the NBA now, it will be with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Delaware 87ers acquired the rights to Staten from the Santa Cruz Warriors, in exchange for the 87ers own fifth round pick in the 2016 NBA Development League Draft.
The 5- foot-11,186-pound guard played in 13 games for Santa Cruz this season, where he averaged 8.9 points and 3.7 assists in 29.0 minutes per game. Staten was acquired by Santa Cruz via the affiliate rule from the Golden State Warriors in November. The rookie was an All-Big 12 at WVU in 2014-15.
… WVU is now No. 15 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 17 in the AP Poll heading into this week. The Mountaineers are 13-1 and are now 2-0 in the Big 12 Conference. Things don’t get any easier for Coach Bob Huggins’ squad now that they head into the meat of the conference slate. WVU hosts Oklahoma State on Saturday and then No. 1 Kansas on Tuesday, Jan. 12 in Morgantown.
… Drew Hatfield, an 8th grader from the Delbarton area, is a starting guard for the Sheldon Clark Cardinals high school team in Martin County. Hatfield, who was the MVP in last year’s Mingo County tournament, is playing well for the Cards.
Hatfield was also the MVP as a quarterback on the Burch Bulldogs football team. Many are hoping that he will return to play the rest of his career in Mingo County.
In Kentucky, middle school players are allowed to move up and play on the high school varsity squads.
… Tug Valley has moved up to No. 2 in the latest AP basketball poll. First year head coach Edwyn May inherited a talented squad. The Panthers are 5-0 and will take on Greater Beckley Christian Friday on the road.
… I was sad to hear of the passing of my friend Erwin “Erkie” Allen, formerly of Chattaroy. Erkie played basketball for Williamson High in the mid-1970s. He is a Wolfpack Hall of Fame member. Erkie is the brother of another former WHS great Alvena Allen and son of Thomas Allen of Chattaroy.
(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)