West Virginia signed one player on scholarship out of the state of West Virginia on Wednesday as a part of its 2013 recruiting class — Spring Valley running back and linebacker Elijah Wellman. He’s expected to have a hard-hitting, blocking role with the Mountaineers, bringing a hard-nosed style that left has an impression on head coach Dana Holgorsen.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for him,” Holgorsen said. “You talk about a guy that loves to play the game – he’s gritty, determined and what this state is all about. He didn’t entertain any other offers because it was real important to him to be a Mountaineer. He grew up a Mountaineer, he’s proud of the state of West Virginia and he couldn’t think of playing anywhere else.”

Wellman, rushed for over 1,600 yards and scored 18 touchdowns during his senior year of high school. He also earned the state’s 2012 Huff Award as the top defensive player, recording 124 tackles during his senior year.

“He’s what this state is all about and we’re certainly proud to have him on board,” Holgorsen said. “We need more guys like that to be proud of the state, where they’re from and what they’re all about.”

As for Wellman’s future role with the Mountaineers?

“He’s a guy that I’m not so sure you can’t just put him in the backfield and just hand it to him a couple of times because he’s so tough,” Holgorsen said. “I’m just proud to have a guy like that on our team, and Cody (Clay) as well.

“You’re talking about a couple of southern West Virginia guys that grew up being Mountaineers and they’re not interested to talking to anybody else outside the state because they’re proud of who they are and it’s good enough for them,” he continued. “Hopefully we can get a few more guys like that in the future.”

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  • Hailey

    We certiantly got a tough guy who checks his ego at the door, very refreshing and much needed. Welcome aboard, it is great to have an in state recruit who wants to me a Mountaineer vs some recruits who are all about me

  • robert e tennant

    WVU and Marshall need all the state athletes they can get. . .when my niece was ready for college , my brother worked in the coal industry , she was guaranteed to have her tuition paid at a state college if she qualified for admission. . .
    maybe WVU and Marshall can't afford to give athletic scholarships to a lot of instate kids but i'd think someone could find a way to see that instate kids , with any kind of link to the coal industry get tied to this unique educational opportunity . . .and if they happen to "walk on" as athletes they will definitely add passion to their chosen team

  • David

    I feel that the WVU misses out on a lot of talented kids from the state. WV has more football talent than what they think. I for one couldnt afford to get my kid to the football camps, and get him seen by bigger schools. But, I tell you this, I was glad when Shepherd University came calling. We even took visits to Concord, West Liberty, Fairmont State, and even a coach from JMU came to the house. We did take the Shepherd offer, but he always wished to hear from WVU, which never came, and I'm sure he would have played with HEART in Morgantown. I'm just glad that I get to see my son continue to play.

  • Bob

    Just so everybody knows, Wellman is one heck of an athlete. He will be drafted to MLB as a pitcher this summer. He throws in the mid nineties! If he was left handed he would go in the first round and we wouldn't have a chance at him at him playing at wvu. Really hope we turn him loose and let Wayne Co. be represented well in the Big 12!

  • George

    I just hope Holg lets Wellman run the ball some, and maybe even throw him a few passes.

    Last year, we heard Holg brag on Cody Clay, but Clay only touched the ball once on a pass play late in the season. I was hoping would be used to run the ball, as well as, be thrown a few more passes.

    The other things I like about Wellman is that he can punt and block. He can also play LB. This kid is an all around athlete on all 3-sides of the ball.

    WVU missed a couple of WV players last year and again in 2013. This needs to change. One signed with North Carolina this year, that should have been recruited much earlier by Holg and his coaches.

  • Bob

    Welcome, Elijah to your beloved Mountaineers. Delighted you can live your dream. Work hard in the classroom and on the field and good things will come your way.

    Bob(formerly of Moundsville),
    Denton, Texas

  • David

    I see nothing wrong with what Holgorsen said. However, it does go both ways. You have to show some interest in the players as well. I don't mean last minute interest. I would say if that kid was so good why NC? There are plenty of schools where you can receive a good education and have a good football team.

    To Wellman I say never go backwards. Learn what a mohawk haircut is all about and wear it proudly. When you get your helmet make sure you get a horseshoe and bend it often. Gain about 40 pounds of muscle. You do those things and Mountaineer Nation will love you long time. Represent.

  • ffejbboc

    Ryan (and his dad) wanted to be treated special. Elijah Wellman and Cody Clay didn't need their egos stroked in order to sign with the Mountaineers.

  • Fran

    I agree with Keefe. I would rather root for 40 kids from our area in the Southern Conference than a bunch of hired help in a power conference and keep it affordable. We all don't own banks, gas wells or coal mines.

  • Keefe

    Who cares what coaches say ? People make such a big deal out who did we get. The reality is I could careless any more. Big money and lazy media has pretty much ruined it for me. I think I will watch small college Football or High School. Fans make a big deal over the meat thats going to sell tickets because they want to be a big time program. Still can not sell out every game yet. No cheap seats at Mountaineer Field. Every team in the Big 12 has them except? I will let you guess. I will give you a hint they sell beer. I like the kid who is going to the Air Force Academy. If you are retired Air force a season ticket is the price of one WVU game ticket. Go Air Force.

    • Jay

      If you COULD care less, perhaps you'd better do so.

  • Charleston, WV

    Yes sir, it's called "state pride" that he was referring to when he made those comments, and he was referring to a handful of in-state athletes that chose to attend WVU. Other athletes choose to attend Marshall or other small colleges within the state. Ryan Switzer chose to go south to UNC and that's all fine and dandy. "To each his own said the lady who kissed the brown cow" as my grandmother would say in the past. Why such the big deal with his comment? I don't believe there was any innuendo with his comment.

  • Ryan

    I listened to this online last night and I really felt like Holgy was throwing some shots at Switzer, he was really emphatic about "they're not interested to talking to anybody else outside the state because they're proud of who they are and it's good enough for them" He said this a few times

    • Salem John

      I'm sure the kid knows that his chance of making a career in the NFL is minuscule so why not get a great education? Of course he won't be able to use it in WV but NC is nice in August.

    • Jay

      By the way, good luck in Chapel Hill, Ryan. Thanks for posting.

    • Jay

      So what if he is? Switzer chose to go elsewhere (North Carolina of all places - ???). Holgorsen should point out the difference in a kid who loves his home state and isn't afraid of the competition that accompanies playing major college football at a football school in one of the nation's top two conferences.