Making The Transition

West Virginia football walk-on Da'Von Marion is saying goodbye to his high school career with all-star contests while prepping for the challenge of college life.

Marion, who played his last sanctioned basketball game in the Scott Brown Memorial Classic last month in Beckley, W. Va., is also slated to play in the West Virginia North-South football game in Charleston in June. Those contests will serve as the endpoints of his high school career, after which he will join the Mountaineer football program. While he, and many others like him, are looking forward to college, he is also taking the time to enjoy the last days of his high school experience.

"It felt really good to play people that play my style," Marion said of the all-star game. "I've been working out trying to get ready to go to WVU and play, but this was one of my last chances to get the experience to just go out and have some fun. I still have North-South football, but this was just a good way to let loose some energy and play with my friends."

Marion, like many football stars, also excelled in basketball, and he enjoyed the chance to play against some good competition. Basketball also offered some crossover skills which help him on the football field.

"I think basketball helps my footwork a lot," he said. "I played in the post in [Class] Single A but in this game I had to be quick on my feet. It helped me work on that."

In the contest, Marion was teamed with WVU-bound Deniz Kilicli, which gave him the chance to play some on the perimeter. He showed good quickness and jumping ability, and also was able to muscle his way to the basket to grab rebounds and finish plays. Of course, fighting off blocks by 300-pound guards is a bigger challenge by far, and the Mount Hope native knows it.

"I am working on my quickness and my strength, and I know that I will have to improve on those things," he said without reservation. "That's what those guys all have [in college], so I know I have to get better there."

Marion is matter-of-fact about not getting a scholarship offer, and doesn't carry a chip on his shoulder or hold any bitterness over it. Instead, he's determined to show that he can play at the Division I level.

"I don't think I got shorted or anything, because the coaches there know who can play," he said of the process. "But going as a walk-on, I know have to show a little more and step up to the plate when its my turn. I work very hard and I know what I can do, and what I can't do, they have coaches that will help me with that. But I do think I can play there."

That sort of approach should help Marion has he works to gain notice in the program. He also has one advantage -- a long-standing familiarity with one of WVU's assistant coaches.

"I do know Coach Dunlap pretty well, because he has been around us for a long time. He helped my uncle, Tim Newsom get up to WVU, so he has been in our family for a while. I know him very well. He's the one that talked with me and helped me get to WVU."

Newsom, a West Virginia defensive back for the Mountaineers from 1988-91 who totaled 80 tackles in his career, is one of 19 children.

"I do have a lot of relatives around here, I guess you could say," Marion joked.

Davon Marion profile


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