In-State Offer

West Virginia has seen several potential fullback candidates over the past couple of weeks at its summer football camps, and on Sunday it identified at least one that it believes can help it win in the Big 12 conference.

After putting on a good showing at West Virginia last week, Elijah Wellman left campus with encouragement from coaches, but no promise of an offer. That situation changed today, however, when assistant coach Robert Gillespie called to make a scholarship offer.

"I was really excited. My friends and family are too," Wellman said shortly after getting the scholarship tender. "We've never had any big school players from Spring Valley, so this is really important. I have thought a little bit about getting offers since I started playing football, but I didn't know if I expected it."

Some of Wellman's doubt may have stemmed from his summer camp experiences. With no pads and very little contact allowed, it's tough for a bruising fullback with a physical style to show off his best attributes.

"It is hard for me to show my strength," said Wellman, who finishes runs and plays with the abandon of a Mike Alstott. "I'm a fullback, and most of the drills are agility drills, and are about speed and footwork. Those aren't my best thing. It's tough to look great in those drills, but I worked at them."

Wellman was certainly being a bit modest, as he showed up very well as he maneuvered around the cones and dummies on the field. He also got one chance to showcase his strength, as the backs engaged a one-man blocking sled to evaluate their pass protection and blocking skills. Wellman punched the sled with great initial force, then drove it several yards downfield.

"That was fun," he admitted with a laugh. "That was my once chance, and I wanted to blow it up."

Wellman obviously did enough right to beat out the other fullbacks under consideration, at least for the present time, in earning an offer. He said West Virginia's coaches laid out plans to him during the scholarship discussion.

"They said they wanted a big bruiser that can come in and be a starting fullback for four years. That sounded good to me, and I hope that would work out if I go there. They said they wanted me to block and get a few short yardage carries. I'll play wherever they need me, so if I moved that would be o.k. too."

Wellman has offers from Charlotte, Bowling Green and Marshall, but said that West Virginia's offer puts it high on his list.

"This is big time football," he said. "Playing Texas and Oklahoma and all those schools, it's just really big."

Wellman also camped at Cincinnati earlier this summer, and doesn't have any others scheduled this year. He said he has not set a timetable for a decision, but said it might come before the season.

"After the camps, things have been blowing up a little," he said. "I haven't set a date or anything like that, but I will be thinking more about my offers. If I feel like the time is right, I'll go ahead and make a commitment, but I don't have anything set yet."

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