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WVU honor, a missed headache and Big 12-PSU transfers

THE VIEWS from here:    n With a whirlwind of sports news lately, a significant state story passed with little fanfare.

It's time, though, to salute one of West Virginia University's finest football players, Darryl Talley, who was recently enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.

It was very well deserved. I remember talking to then-Pitt coach Foge Fazio before the 1983 Backyard Brawl when he singled out Talley. In fact, he compared Talley to former Panther great Hugh Green, a three-time first-team All-America selection and second-place finisher to George Rogers in Heisman Trophy balloting. Green had been the highest Heisman defensive finisher until 1997 when Charles Woodson won.

The praise wasn't all coaching hyperbole. Talley was one of the sparks to the surge in football fortunes for WVU under Don Nehlen. He's still among the school's top three leaders in career total tackles (484), unassisted tackles (282) and assisted tackles (202). He became WVU's third consensus All-America selection.

Talley then took his fiery play to the NFL for 14 seasons and never missed a game in his 12 with Buffalo, where he played in four Super Bowls.

For those too young to remember Talley, well, it's a shame. Around campus he would wear a jacket emblazoned with "The Assassin," which was a tip of the cap to Oakland Raider star Jack Tatum.

Talley was undersized - and feared.

If you go to his Wikipedia page, you'll see him hoisting the 1981 Peach Bowl trophy along with current WVU athletic director and former Mountaineer quarterback Oliver Luck.

"Two Cleveland boys," Luck said with a smile.

"Darryl's story is a metaphor for how WVU has always punched above its weight," Luck said. "If they had [recruiting scouting] stars in his day, he would have had zero. But people realized very quickly how good of a player he was and that he was destined to be great. He just needed to put on some weight."

Luck went on to say Talley and Delbert Fowler, another Cleveland product, were "bookends that might have been the best ever here."

Makes one think, right? Maybe, just maybe, Cleveland should become a WVU recruiting priority once again.

  • You might remember that, a year ago, WVU hoops coach Bob Huggins really liked the skill of a 6-foot-11 recruit from Chattanooga [Tenn.] State Community College named Phillip Jurick.
  • The player spent a redshirt season with Tennessee in 2008-09 and Huggins seemed close to landing the center.

    Well, Huggins didn't. And that might have spared him a headache. On Tuesday it was announced that Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford has indefinitely suspended the center after he pleaded not guilty to charges that he possessed marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

    Ford announced that Jurick won't travel with the Cowboys on their upcoming foreign tour in Spain and that a final decision on his status will be made when more information is obtained. The player averaged 1.6 points last season.

  • And finally . . .
  • The pillaging of Penn State players continues. Former Nittany Lion wideout Justin Brown arrived at Oklahoma on Tuesday, bolstering an inexperienced group of receivers. Brown was the second-leading receiver for the Nittany Lions last season, with 35 catches for 517 yards and three touchdowns.

    WVU hasn't plucked any PSU players, immediately eligible to transfer and play because of the NCAA's penalties after the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case.

    But the Mountaineers will play against at least two impacted by the ruling: Brown and kicker Anthony Fera, who bolted to Texas.

    Nine players have now left, ignited by the departure of running back Silas Redd, who went to USC.

    Of course, some see the pillaging as dirty pool. Kicking the Lions when they're down.

    The view from here is different. The players did absolutely nothing wrong and deserve opportunities to escape the gloom and enjoy their athletic careers. If anything, the coaches, former PSU players and fans who tried to persuade current players to stay out of "loyalty" to the school should be ashamed. This is a unique, awful situation.

    And trying to throw guilt trips on innocent players to stay is dirty pool.

    Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvingle@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.

      

     


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