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dustin2We continue our Player Spotlight Series with Mountaineer sophomore running back Dustin Garrison.

Dustin is coming off a successful freshmen season that saw him lead the team in rushing, but is working to bounce back following a knee injury during Orange Bowl prep, and off season knee surgery.

Garrison joined the 2011 recruiting class out of Pearland High School (TX) and was coached by Tony Heath.

His accomplishments out of high school are remarkable. He helped lead Pearland to a 16-0 record and a Class 5-A title. He was a Class 5-A First Team All-State pick, Houston Offensive Player of the Year, MVP of his district, and broke the school record for carries, rushing yards, and touchdowns at his final year at Pearland.garrison1

He finished up 2010 with 2,842 yards on 406 carries, adding 46 touchdowns. Dustin also had 595 yards receiving and five touchdowns. For his career, he had 4,261 years and 62 touchdowns.

When Dustin arrived in Morgantown, the running back position was up for grabs. Then junior Shawne Alston was recovering from injury, and that left Garrison to battle with freshmen Andrew Buie and former Mountaineer Vernard Roberts.

Dustin would see his carries grow as the season went along, and eventually became the teams starting running back.

He scored his first collegiate touchdown at home against Norfolk State.

He followed up with 291 yards and two scores on 32 carries in first start against Bowling Green, the second-best single game total in 2011. His 291 rushing yards against BGSU was the first 200-yard rushing effort for WVU since Noel Devine had 220 yards against Colorado in 2009.

 

Garrison led the team in rushing with 742 yards on the ground and was rolling into the Orange Bowl when injury struck the talented freshmen.

He suffered torn ACL and sprained MCL suffered in the same knee during bowl prep keeping him out of the Discover Orange Bowl against Clemson. He remained on the sidelines to be with his team during the win.

Having to sit out all of spring, Garrison has been working hard in the rehab room to get back to form.

"Actually, I think I'll be a lot better," he said. "I'm still working on my strength, but mentally, I've been watching film and looking at different areas I needed to critique myself on."

He credits the help of his teammates and roommates, K.J. Meyers and Dante Campbell.

"They helped me out a lot," Garrison said. "They were always there and always making sure I was OK. 'Hey, you're depressed. You've got to get out of the house. Let's go get something to eat.' I was lucky I had people there who were happy to help me."

He knows all the running backs have alot to prove this year, but so does he.

"Honestly, I see myself in the back," he said. "I don't want Gillespie or Holgorsen to put me up top. I want to start in the back and earn my way back up to the top. I know Buie and Shawne and even the new guys have a lot to prove, but so do I. I see myself at the back of the depth chart and working my way to the top." Garrison said.

One thing is certain, all of Mountaineer Nation will be pulling for the young man to get back to form, and better.

The Mountaineers open the 2012 season on September 1st at Milan Puskar Stadium against Marshall.

 

 

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