Former Madonna football standout Connor Arlia has followed the formula to perfection as he heads into his junior season with West Virginia. The former walk-on officially earned a scholarship with the Mountaineers this spring, joining a growing list of instate players to have accomplished the feat.
“When they told me that I got the full-scholarship, it was an amazing feeling,” Arlia said. “It’s just a blessing and I just thank God for it. I’m super excited about it, but my parents are probably even more excited. It’s great.”
Arlia, a former first team all-state performer with Madonna, collected seven catches in 2012 for 43 yards with the Mountaineers. Out of high school, he could have taken other opportunities at smaller schools like Harvard, Penn, Davidson, Carnegie Mellon and Robert Morris – instead, he accepted the challenge of walking on with WVU.
“Growing up, my family and my grandfather preached to go hard each and every day, and that’s where so much of (my work ethic) has come from,” he said.
This spring, Arlia found himself atop the tentative depth chart at inside receiver, battling there with Jordan Thompson. He then totaled four catches for 39 yards in Saturday’s Gold-Blue game. And while a lot could change between now and the beginning of the season, Arlia at least has put himself right in the mix.
“Getting a scholarship was definitely a huge goal for me,” Arlia said. “But being on scholarship won’t change anything or the way I approach everyday.”
And it’s been that approach and hard work that earned him the Tommy Nickolich Award for this year, which the Blue & Gold News presents each year to a walk-on member of the team who has distinguished himself with his attitude and effort. He was also named one of three Iron Mountaineers which go to the top workers in the offseason.
“It was such an honor and blessing and I just thank God for it,” he said. “The Iron Mountaineer is something I’m proud about because I pride myself on working hard and everything like that.”