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While most observers view West Virginia's signing of junior college running back Zach Hulce as a depth-building move, that's not the way the confident, sturdy runner views it.

"I am coming to West Virginia to play," said Hulce, who bursts with confidence. I am coming for that number one spot. I did look at the roster after West Virginia called me, and I know that Noel Devine is coming back. I know that they have some new freshmen running backs coming in too. But I am not thinking about redshirting or anything like that."

Coming from some, those words might strike the wrong tone, but after just a few minutes conversation with Hulce, it becomes clear that he's a player that is confident in his abilities, but not one that is disrespectful of others. As most good players, he is anxious to show his worth.

"I think I can compete with anyone," Hulce continued. "I have a lot of strength and a lot of speed. I'm explosive; I can get the tough yards. I view myself as an every down back. I can catch the ball too."

West Virginia, with its running back ranks thinned by NFL losses and disciplinary dismissals, needed immediate depth for the position, and swooped in to snare Hulce after a quick review.

"[Running backs coach] Chris Beatty called me up last week and said they needed a juco running back," Hulce explained. "We sent my film, and they said they were excited with what they saw, and they offered me. I had not talked to West Virginia before that – I had just seen them on TV. I thought they were very good. I mean, they are a Top Ten program! It's a fast offense, and they were just flying all over. It's all about their speed."

The offer was a last minute rescue for Hulce, who had seen a interest from a couple of other Division I schools, but was worried that he might not get the chance to play at that level. He believes part of the reason for the lack of offers was his peripatetic school career.

"I have been all over the country growing up. My father is a human resources director, and he got several different jobs, so we moved a lot," Hulce explained. "I've lived in Mississippi, Michigan, Florida, Washington, Arizona. We picked up and moved about every two years, and I do think that hurt my recruiting some."

Also contributing to the lack of interest was the juco detour. Hulce narrowly missed qualifying, and thus went to Glendale Community College, where he has gotten his academics in order. As a sophomore, he rushed for 1182 yards and ten scores, earning all-conference and all-region honors. He also was named national junior college player of the week after a 290-yard rushing game.

With all that life experience behind him, Hulce isn't worried about adjusting to West Virginia, even though he has yet to see the campus (he will make a trip to WVU on March 15).

"I'm used to moving around, so that won't be a problem. I want to meet the players and the coaches and check out the facilities and the town. I also want to find a good church. Church and my faith are important to me. I am a Christian, and I think God gave me this opportunity. I want to make the most of it, and I will be ready."


Hulce plans to major in kinesiology, with an eye toward coaching. He is currently working out at Velocity Sports in Scottsdale, and plans to come to West Virginia for the summer, as soon as he wraps up the final classes he needs to graduate.

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Although Hulce was just 30-40 minutes away from West Virginia signees Brantwon Bowser and Tevita Finau (who attended Phoenix College), he did not cross paths with them in the Valley of the Sun.

"I am looking forward to meeting them when I make my trip to West Virginia," he noted.

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