Last summer, Spring Valley running back Elijah Wellman became one of West Virginia’s first commitments to the 2013 recruiting class. Now, Wellman’s aspirations of playing for his home-state school in the Big 12 are just around the corner.
The 6-foot-3, 233-pounder capped off his high school senior season with more than 1,600 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. Defensively, he tallied 124 tackles in route to earning the Huff Award, which goes to the state’s top defensive player.
“I haven’t put it into perspective yet,” Wellman said. “I’ve got the award and I’m proud of it and have heard a lot of congratulations from a lot of people, but it really hasn’t set in.”
What has set in is how close he is to becoming a Mountaineer and what he has to do to fully prepare himself for that next level of football.
“I’ve been in the weight room for about a month and a half now,” he said. “Right when the season ended, I started hitting it hard again. It’s a big step from high school to Big 12 football, so you’ve got to train for it right.”
“I’m going to West Virginia, which is Big 12 football, and if you don’t like it there, I don’t know what you are going to like football wise – that’s as big as it gets.” – Elijah Wellman
Despite being named the state’s top defensive player, Wellman ultimately was recruited to West Virginia as an offensive player, fitting the role of a blocking fullback.
“If they decide to move me to defense, that’s fine with me,” he said. “I have some experience on the defensive side of the ball, but it just all depends on what they want to do when I get up there and what they have planned for me.”
That eventual plan for Wellman figures to be similar to what former George Washington standout Cody Clay has provided this season with the Mountaineers.
“That definitely would be a good fit for me,” Wellman said. “I like hitting people on defense, so I might as well hit people on offense too. I don’t have a problem with that one bit. Making a way for the guys behind me is definitely not a problem for me.
“I watched Cody Clay a lot every time he’s in the game,” he continued. “And he’s also a West Virginia guy as well, so it gives me another reason to watch him to see what I’ll hopefully be doing in the future and get a good view of that.”
Regardless, hard hitting will be a part of that future for Wellman either way.
“I like the feeling of hitting someone from the defensive side a lot as well,” he added. “There’s nothing like the feeling of laying someone out.”
Wellman was the seventh player to commit to WVU when he first announced his decision back in June. It’s a class that has grown significantly since then, up to 22 members. While he has been in contact with some of his future new teammates, any nerves or concerns about playing at the next level are behind him.
“I’m going to West Virginia, which is Big 12 football, and if you don’t like it there, I don’t know what you are going to like football-wise. That’s as big as it gets,” he said. “I’m anxious to see where I stand with everybody else, but it’s playing football and that’s what I’ve done since I was 6 years old.”