MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University coach Neal Brown will get his first real disciplinary test with Jovani Haskins.
Projected to be a starting tight end, Haskins, 21, of Bergenfield, New Jersey, faces charges of reckless driving, fleeing from an officer and driving on the wrong side of the road.
The incident occurred about 3:15 a.m. on July 28 when a WVU police officer saw a white Audi A4 speeding on University Avenue, according to a criminal complaint. Published reports say the officer saw the car almost strike another car while in the turning lane of University and Campus avenues.
According to the complaint, the officer pursued Haskins with his emergency lights on. He stated the Audi was going at a high rate of speed and crossed the center line “multiple times.” A second officer also saw the same car speeding on University Avenue.
The Audi eventually parked in the Metro Towers parking area and the driver got out and ran away, according to the complaint.
The car’s registration was cross referenced with WVU parking records, which showed citations to Haskins. Haskins matched the description of the suspect who fled, and his student ID card was found inside the vehicle.
The football player was arraigned on Aug. 2 by Senior Status Magistrate Darris Summers in Monongalia County Magistrate Court and a bond of $2,500 was set and posted.
“We are aware of the situation, and it will be handled appropriately and in accordance with West Virginia University’s policies and procedures surrounding student conduct,” Brown said in a release.
Haskins, expected to replace Trevon Wesco this season as the starting tight end, has been practicing with the team but has been held out of contact drills.
West Virginia has a number of talented running backs, but the one who is least known coming into the season may just end up being the impact runner in the group — sophomore Alec Sinkfield.
A small, shifty back, Sinkfield has been turning heads in practice.
“Sink is making a big impact on the offense this year,” said fellow running back Leddie Brown. “He will score a lot of touchdowns this year.”
Sinkfield will be used mostly on outside runs and as a pass receiver.
Last year, as a freshman, he rushed 16 times for 76 yards and caught four passes for 44 yards with a long of 31 yards.
With no football practice on Wednesday, Neal Brown took his team to Grafton to visit Arch Coal’s Leer Mining Complex in Taylor County.
It proved to be a touching experience for all who took part in the tour.
“I’ve been to one coal mine, but I never got as much detail as we got yesterday,” said Darius Stills, WVU’s 285-pound defensive tackle from Fairmont. “It’s a very hard job and I can’t imagine being underground for 10 hours plus. That’s what (WVU strength and conditioning coach) Mike Joseph emphasizes — working hard, a blue-collar mentality.
“It was a great experience with us,” Stills said. “It put a whole different perspective on the team. Everyone talks about West Virginia and coal, but no one ever gets to see how they do it. We got to see what the machines do.”
While the coaches and staff were taken down into the mine, the players stayed above ground due to liability laws.