Filling Voids

West Virginia is looking for lightning to strike twice in its recruiting at the fullback position, and it may have found a prospect to fill the shoes of the departing Owen Schmitt.

Schmitt pretty much fell into the lap of West Virginia when he transferred from Division III Wisconsin-River Falls, and while high school senior Brett Koepp isn't a college player, his story is, in some respects, similar to Schmitt's. An underrated running back prospect from Rockford Christian (Ill.) High School, Koepp has tailback skills and a fullback's mentality. He rushed for more than 1,200 yards and had another 300 receiving during a 5-5 senior season, and stood out on the defensive side with more than 100 tackles from his linebacker position. He earned all-conference honors as a senior, and was selected as the player of the year by one local media outlet.

Despite those achievements, Koepp has not received any scholarship offers to date, but does have invited walk-on offers from West Virginia, Hawaii and New Mexico. He is also considering an offer to attend a small Division III school near his home, but looks to be most interested in trying his hand at one of the three Football Bowl Subdivision schools.

It might seem odd that Koepp has walk-on chances at schools spread nearly all the way across the country, but a quick check of each institution reveals some ties that explain the offers.

"My high school coach, Jeff Heiderberg, has a lot of contacts. He played in NFL Europe," Koepp explained. "He knows [WVU defensive coordinator] Jeff Casteel, and he also has some contacts on the Hawaii coaching staff. As for New Mexico, I have some family in Albuquerque.

"I like the small town atmosphere and the program at West Virginia," Koepp continued. "I am from a small town, so that appeals to me. The facilities are amazing there, and I thought the campus was gorgeous. There were lots of friendly people there too. Everyone helped us out when we were there on our visit for the Pitt game."

Although some recruits have apparently been swayed by the results of that one contest, Koepp is not included in that number.

"West Virginia losing that game didn't affect me or my visit at all. I had a good trip there. I know it is still a great school."

Koepp has already visited New Mexico, and plans to visit Hawaii before making his decision, but there's no doubt his blend of skills would fit well at any of the schools. He also played fullback during his junior year at Rockford, where he displayed another aspect of his ability.

"I led the team with 47 pancake blocks," said Koepp, who stands six feet, one inch and weighs 220 lbs. "I have run a 4.7 40-yard dash, so I think I can play anywhere a team needs me. I have no problem moving to different positions. I could play fullback or linebacker if that's what is needed. I love hitting, so those positions would not be a problem."


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