Terrell Pinson Signs with WVU, Eyes Starting Role - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Terrell Pinson Signs with WVU, Eyes Starting Role

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MORGANTOWN -

Terrell Pinson has his eyes set on a starting role in West Virginia's defense.

On Wednesday, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound safety signed with the Mountaineers out of Itawamba Community College in preparation for his January arrival on campus to compete for playing time and ultimately crack the lineup as a starter.

That's what WVU associate head coach Joe DeForest saw in Pinson when he first saw him play earlier this year and with his signing, the plan goes into motion.

"Coach DeForest told me I'm coming into to start, so I need to know everything," Pinson says, referring to both the defense itself and the free and strong safety positions. "He said it might change, it just depends on the team that we're playing, but probably the majority of time they'll have me playing free and [freshman] Karl Joseph will play strong."

Joseph spent the 2012 season playing free safety, but it would be difficult to doubt his effectiveness if he were able to take his head-hunting ability closer to the line of scrimmage.

Pinson knows that whatever his role, he will have to beat out other players to achieve it, and that process begins with enrolling for the coming semester at WVU.

"It's really important being able to be there in the spring and get back on these weights, because I lost a lot of weight, so I'm just ready to get back with the program and be able to know the plays and the defense, because coming into the summer, you're a little behind and I'm trying to come in there to start," says Pinson.

Signing the national letter of intent takes him one step closer and for a player who wasn't able to play through the scholarship he initially signed for with Mississippi State out of high school, it is an opportunity he does not intend to let slip away.

"I know I'll appreciate it way more than a lot of the players who are coming straight out of high school," Pinson says of the route he took to WVU. "Being in JUCO ball, you don't receive any special treatment like at a university, so I'm glad to get away and get up there to Morgantown, because I know they treat their players really well. JUCO ball isn't where it's at."

JUCO ball may not be, but for a person who admits that his failure to meet academic requirements kept him from an earlier transition to major college football, Pinson knows that the time he spent in JUCO classrooms has been beneficial.

"I kind of tell everybody to go to JUCO first if you're – I don't want to say immature, but it makes you focus on the grades and the academic part of it first and then they worry about football," he says.

That mentality has gotten him to where he can maintain his focus in the classroom while going out and racking up 36 tackles, four interceptions, five pass break-ups and a blocked punt in his final year with I.C.C.

His visit to Morgantown for the season finale win over Kansas was enough to convince him that although DeForest and company did not open communication with Pinson until late in the process, WVU was the place for his future in football.

"He was the man who recruited me and the main thing I like about the school when I came up for my visit was the fan base," says Pinson. "The fan base is crazy. Really crazy. Mississippi State or Ole Miss, I've been there and I've never seen the fans go crazy like that."

Pinson watched film of WVU's defense and read about their ineffectiveness for much of the 2012 season and rather than be deterred by the lack of success, he felt motivated to be a piece to the puzzle in fixing the problems.

"One of the main things Coach DeForest told me was if you want to make it big being on defense, come to the Big 12 because every team we play mostly passes the ball," says Pinson. "Every team has their down year, so I'm hoping this was the down year and we're going to come in and make plays next year. I don't want to be on a team that doesn't have good defense. We need a big defense up there."

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