Newsday

Rasul Douglas was a four-star cornerback recruit out of Nassau (N.Y.) Community College. Finally cleared by the NCAA, he joins an experienced rotation at West Virginia.

 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell plans to have newly cleared junior college signee Rasul Douglas up to speed during the three-game nonconference schedule.

A four-star recruit ruled eligible by the NCAA after sitting out three weeks of preseason practice, Douglas spent Saturday doing conditioning work while the team scrimmaged.

A redshirt isn’t an option because Douglas has only two years’ eligibility remaining.

“Physically, he’s pretty close to where we need him,” said Mitchell, who maintained constant communication with Douglas during his stint in clearinghouse limbo.

“We had very frank conversations about being in shape. It was, “Can you run 16 of those 110s when you get here with 30 seconds’ rest in between?’ He knew we were going to hit the ground running and we weren’t going to have time for him to get in shape. He did his part and now it’s time to do ours as coaches.”

At 6-foot-3, Douglas is West Virginia’s tallest cornerback and among the rangiest in the Big 12. His rare size and tenacious attitude drew scholarship offers from the likes of Florida State, Georgia, Tennessee and Louisville.

“He’s long and physical and he exudes confidence,” Mitchell said.

Cornerback being more of a plug-and-play position than some others, Douglas primarily needs to familiarize himself with WVU’s terminology.

“He will play … it’s just the mental aspect where we’ve got to get him honed in,” Mitchell said. “Cover-2 is Cover-2. Cover-3 is Cover-3. It may be different verbiage for him back at junior college, but once he gets the vernacular down he’s going to be fine.

“I think we can get him caught up.”

West Virginia opens against Georgia Southern on Sept. 5 and faces FCS member Liberty in Week 2. Then comes a bye week before Maryland visits Sept. 26.

Given the early preparations for Georgia Southern’s option attack, defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said “it would be hard right now to catch him up to speed on what we’re doing for this first game.” Yet the hope is for Douglas to be fully functional against Maryland so that he’s prepared to contribute Oct. 3 in the league opener at Oklahoma.

“We need to use him,” Gibson said. “He only has two years left, so hopefully we’ll get him rolling by the Big 12 conference games.”

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