Camp Season

For most families, "camping season" means it's time to haul out tents, cots and coolers for a trip to the nearest forest or park. For a smaller percentage, however, it signals the time to pack up the car and fire up the GPS for directions to college campuses.

West Virginia University was one of those destinations this weekend, as football camps began on Saturday. The first of five one-day sessions kicked off under sunny skies at Milan Puskar Stadium, watched over by the Mountaineer coaching and strength staffs. Some 85 campers were on hand for the initial session, ranging from rising seniors to sophomores and freshmen.

Many eyes were on West Virginia quarterback commit Chavas Rawlins, who made the short trip with his brother Justice from Monessen High School to campus. Rawlins blazed through the agility drills in camp, turning in a hand-timed 4.5 40-yard dash. He was even better in many of the agility drills, displaying quick feet, good balance and very good pocket awareness throughout the afternoon.

In one of the drills, run by WVU assistant coach Jake Spavital, passers had to avoid beanbags tossed at them, which simulated oncoming pass rushers. Rawlins was at his best here, dodging artfully while keeping his eyes downfield before launching passes at the target net.

On his throws, Rawlins displays something of a slingshot delivery, which hampered his accuracy somewhat. However, there isn't anything there that a bit of consistent tweaking can't fix, and when Rawlins arrives on campus he'll have plenty of time to work on that aspect of his delivery. In the meantime, his ability to run, buy time in the pocket and find receivers promises a productive senior season.

Rawlins was accompanied by his younger brother Justice, who is a rising junior. Justice Rawlins is coming off a knee injury the caused him to miss all of his sophomore season, but his recovery looks good so far. A freshman all-American selection, the younger Rawlins wore a brace during drills, but moved very well among the linebacker group. He cut and ran circle drills without a limp, and acquitted himself well in one-on-one work. While every school will be watching Justice Rawlins' progress this year, West Virginia has been player in his recruitment from the start, and if he shows he can handle the physical strain of playing again, there will be a number of schools joining them in pursuit of his commitment. With his elder brother at West Virginia, however, the Mountaineers figure to have a nice leg up in that battle.

Also making a solid showing was Spring Valley (W. Va.) High School's Elijah Wellman. A powerful linebacker\fullback prospect, Wellman went through the day's work on the offensive side, and his strength stood out. While many of the running backs struggled to execute good blocks against a single sled, Wellman powered it several yards downfield each time he engaged it. He also showed nimble footwork in agility drills, and demonstrated that he could well be a major college prospect at fullback.

Another player who earned notice was Demarco Rojas, a lanky defensive back from Norther High School in Owings Mills, Md. Rojas has good straight-line speed, but he really shone in one-on-ones, where he broke up several passes and showed good change of direction and an aggressive demanor.

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