Right Fit

While many players without a scholarship offer might be tempted to wait and see how the recruiting situation develops, this hard-working player got the invite he was looking for, and will thus join his team of choice as an invited walk-on in 2007.

Hurricane High School's C.J. Huffman, a 6-2, 275-pound offensive and defensive lineman, has been a West Virginia fan for his entire life. So when an invited walk-on offer came from WVU assistant coach Tony Gibson, he quickly jumped on it.

"I've always been a WVU fan," Huffman said. "I've been to a couple of games every year for the past four or five years. It's tough sometimes to work those in with my playing schedule, but I've always managed to do it.

"I've been talking with Coach Gibson over the past few weeks, and those talks went really well. So when he offered me an invited walk-on for next year, I committed to West Virginia."

The Mountaineers' interest in the gritty Hurricane lineman began last year at WVU's football camp. Huffman made his first trip to the camp prior to his junior year, and did well enough to get his name on West Virginia's watch list. When he repeated the performance again this past summer, things began to get more serious, and culminated in the walk-on offer.

Huffman was hard-pressed to pinpoint the qualities he possesses that intrigued the Mountaineer coaching staff, but was able, after some reflection, to provide some possibilities.

"I think they liked my work ethic and my attitude in camp," said Huffman, who prides himself on that aspect of the game. "I worked hard all the time at camp, and I think I did well there.

"I'm not the most talented guy out there, but I guarantee I will work harder than anyone else," said Huffman, displaying just the sort of mentality that often leads to success for walk-ons. "When I'm in the weight room, I want to lift more than anyone else. On the field, I want to work harder than anyone else."

Through four games this year, Huffman has 42 tackles, three forced fumbles, a safety and a touchdown from his defensive tackle spot. He also plays on the offensive line, but West Virginia envisions playing him on the nose as a zero technique in its 3-3-5 scheme – a move which doesn't bother Huffman at all.

The senior captain has already equaled his stats from his sophomore and junior seasons, when he totalled approximately 45 tackles each year. Those performances were good enough to earn him all-county, all-conference and honorable mention all state honors as a junior. With his numbers this year (he's close to fifty tackles now after another excellent performance against Parkersburg in his team's fifth game last week, he is sure to be present on every honors list following his senior season.

NOTES

Huffman's leadership is evident both on and off the field. He was also picked as a captain last year as a junior, and is thus serving his second consecutive year in that role.

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Huffman received interest from Princeton, Illinois State and Florida Atlantic, as well as a number of Division II schools. However, he seems set on pursuing his dream at West Virginia.

"I am pretty solid with WVU," he said. "I know what their history and tradition is like with walk-ons. I like the way the coaches are there. They are straight-forward and honest with you. I saw that Max Anderson went there as a walk-on this year and already got a scholarship, and I think I can do that too. I want to get there and earn a spot on the depth chart."

* * *

Huffman's Hurricane squad started out the season 4-0 before dropping a close decision to Parkersburg.

"We were up at the half, but we had a few plays that didn't go our way and we lost that one," Huffman explained. "But I still think our defense is the best in the state. We play Nitro this week, and we want to show that."


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