Old Ties Yield New Commitment

Old ties are often the strongest ones, and it was just such a bond that led West Virginia's latest football verbal commitment to the Mountaineer program.

"I've had a relationship with Doc Holliday since I was in high school when he was at Florida," said Render, a well-spoken and enthusiastic interview. "I've been out here playing the past couple of years, but when I went home on spring break this year, we got a chance to meet again in person. He had offered a couple of guys from my old high school, Northwestern, so I met him in Miami and gave him my film from junior college. He watched it and gave me a call and let me know he wanted to offer me.

"We stayed in contact with each other pretty much the whole time," Render continued. "He is a great guy, and even when he left Florida and went back to West Virginia, I knew that wherever he was he would make me feel at home. Of all the schools I talked with during recruiting, I talked with him the most. It was pretty much on a day-to-day basis. I just have a great relationship with him, and he knows my family well, too.

Render had something of a circuitous path to his present spot as a starting safety on the Palomar College team in California. He played at Northwestern High School in Miami before going to Sunset High his senior year, then attended Pasadena College for a year and played there before sitting out 2007 due to financial issues. He then transferred to Palomar for the 2008 season, where he is playing his second year of junior college football. He expects to be able to graduate in December and join West Virginia for spring practice in 2008.

At Palomar, he is listed as a starter at free safety, but will also play corner as well.

"Doc told me I could play either corner or safety. It depends on what they need there. I think I can play either one. Right now I am playing both at Palomar. They have me listed as a safety, but with the defenses we run, I play both. When we go to nickel and dime packages I end up playing more like a corner, and cover slot receivers. I'm playing a lot of man-to-man in that defense, so it gives me good experience in both of them.

Out of high school, Render did not meet initial qualifying requirements, and junior college became the best route for him to continue his football career.

"It was a tossup on where to go," he recalled. "I had a chance to play at Garden City in Kansas, but I thought in looking at the California schools that they put a lot of players into Division I. And I wanted to go someplace similar to Miami, a bigger city where the weather was the same."

Of course, detractors would note that WVU isn't located in a big city, nor does it have Sun Belt weather. However, at this point, those things weren't as import to Render as other factors.

"The biggest thing in my decision to come to West Virginia was Doc and the coaching staff," he said. "And I have family in Washington, D.C. and in Baltimore, so I have people to reach out to that aren't so far away."

Render also had Division I offers from Baylor, Wyoming and Kansas State, as well as a number of offers from lower division schools. However, Holiday's presence at West Virginia was clearly the deciding factor in his commitment.

NOTE

Render, who called Holliday to give him his commitment, was just as excited to share the news with Shirley Pintado and her family. The Pintados provided guardianship and support for Render in Miami during his high school career, so much so that he transferred to Sunset High School for his senior year so he could stay close to Chris Pintado. Chris ended up going to Florida on a football scholarship that began with recruitment by, you guessed it, Doc Holliday.

"Arthur had been trying so hard to do the right things and stay on track, and I am just so happy for him," Shirley said after learning of the commitment. "I know that Chris is very happy for him too. Things look like they are really working out for him, and we are really glad for that."


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