Bursting With Potential

After his junior season at Mercersburg Academy, defensive lineman Curtis Feight worked on transforming his body into the shape required to be an excellent defensive lineman. And after a few trips to summer football camps, it became clear that the native of Germany was a serious Division I prospect.

Feight, who played high school level football in Germany under the auspices of the NFL Youth Marketing Association, had always held the dream of playing football in the United States. In Germany, he played in a league organized by USA Football and Global Football Inc. That organization sets up football programs all over the world, and Feight quickly became a standout there.

One of the benefits of the league is that it allows burgeoning talent to be identified, with players getting recommended as potential players for private schools in the U.S. When Feight earned that status, he selected Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania as his destination.

"He had the goal to play college football in the United States, and he came to us in 2007 for his junior season," Mercersburg head football coach Dan Walker said. "He had a good junior season, but not a great one. But in the off-season, he just transformed himself. The he started going to some summer camps, and the schools that saw him there were the ones that got the jump on him. He went to camps at Boston College, Penn State, and West Virginia, and those schools got to see him in person. He just looks the part of a defensive lineman now."

Feight (pronounced "fight"), now stand six feet, six inches and weighs in at 270 pounds. Those physical attributes, combined with a growing knowledge of the game, make him an exciting prospect for West Virginia, which he has verbally committed to.

"He has tremendous potential," Walker said. "For his height and weight, he's very athletic. During his junior year, it took him some time to get used to the U.S. I think it takes a very brave person to go to a new country as he did, but he took that leap and is doing very well."

Walker watched closely as Feight became more comfortable in the U.S., and as he did so saw him improve on the field as well. With Mercersburg's season-opening scrimmage just ten days away, he is excited about Feight's upcoming senior year.

"As his football and academics continue to grow and improve, I see him being a dominating player for us. I definitely think his best football is in front of him. He's very coachable, and he works hard in the classroom. He just continues to improve."

This won't be West Virginia's first experience with an athlete from Germany in a marquee sport. Basketballer Joe Herber, from Darmstadt, helped rebuild WVU's hoops fortunes, and while Walker won't have that sort of task in front of him, it is likely comforting to know that WVU has had success with athletes from several other countries, including one from his homeland. Walker is also quite comfortable with West Virginia's football coaching staff.

"Coach Kirelawich recruits our high school, so I knew him, but I hadn't met some of the other staff members," he related. "I got the chance to meet them when they recruited Curtis, and I immediately felt comfortable with them. The best way I can say it is that West Virginia has coaches like the guys I have grown up with all my life. They're the preseason number eight team in the country, but they take time to shake every hand and meet and talk to you.

"I think the staff at West Virginia will nurture him both on the field and off," Walker continued. "I am very impressed with the staff there. They have integrity and I think they will do a great job with him."

Walker was also clear in stating that all of the schools that recruited Feight were excellent, and did a good job in delivering their recruiting message. In the end, it was simply a matter of comfort that won out.

"It ultimately came down to Curtis, and he made the decision," said Walker. "He went with the place where he felt the most comfortable."

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