West Virginia defensive line coach Bruce Tall has been in North Carolina for the last few days, recruiting on behalf of the Mountaineers. While he was there, he may have just found the 2018 recruit with more West Virginia ties than any prospect in the Mountain State - Holly Springs (NC) athlete Bryce Wheaton
"My grandpa played and coached there and was an associated athletic director (Garrett Ford Sr.)," said Wheaton. "My grandma went there as well. My uncle played football there (Garrett Ford Jr.). My mom went to college there, and my dad graduated law school there."
In fact, when he was younger, Wheaton lived in Martinsburg and spent the majority of his time around the football program.
"I grew up around a lot of the players like Pat White and Steve Slaton," he said. "I was always running around the facilities when I was young."
When he moved to North Carolina, some of that changed - no more trips into the locker room or hanging out with the current players after school. However, he still remains a Mountaineer at heart and even made it to the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando.
"I'm a diehard WVU fan," he said. "I still follow them heavily."
So, when Tall came to his school and offered him a scholarship to the program his family has attended for generations, he could hardly believe it.
"I was really excited," said Wheaton. "It's really special to me. Truly an honor."
The 6-foot-3, 191-pounder says the Mountaineers like him as a wide receiver. East Carolina has offered him at that position as well, while Missouri likes him as an athlete, and Washington State and Georgia State see him on defense. Wheaton prefers offense, but says he is just looking for "somewhere I can make an impact and have a good relationship with the coaches."
It's still early in his recruitment, but Wheaton says he hopes to make a decision by August 17th. He will trim his list before then, but admits the Mountaineers might have an edge.
"No favorites, yet, but WVU would be up there if I had one."