Martinsburg head football coach Dave Walker
Class AAA’s reigning football power in the state continues to leave its mark as the Bulldogs last week signed two players to Division I letters of intent. Martinsburg head coach Dave Walker saw a couple of key pieces to his program’s three straight state championships take the next step in their careers as receiver Cedric Brown signed with Ohio and lineman Eugene German with UNC Charlotte.
German, of course, was tabbed as this past year’s Hunt Award winner, being named the state’s top lineman.
“He was really excited and we were excited for him as a lot of the hard work paid off,” Walker said. “He had a great year for us and I think he was very deserving of the award and I know he’s very proud.”
German is joining a football program at UNC Charlotte that will be in its infancy during his time there out of Conference USA.
“They’re working on their stadium and it’s going to be beautiful,” Walker said. “Charlotte is a great city and I know the atmosphere is going to be really good and they have a great group of coaches, including some former West Virginia guys there. I think it’s going to be a program to keep your eyes on.”
The Martinsburg lineman joins George Washington’s Dustin Crouser as a part of the initial building process with the 49ers.
“I know he’s excited about it and they’re excited to have him,” Walker said. “(Offensive line coach) Phil Ratliff did a tremendous job recruiting him. It’s going to be a great fit because he’s going to have an opportunity to go in and make an impact. I know they’re an up and coming program, so he’s excited about being a part of that.”
German had offers from Marshall and Ohio, along with some other interest that included Rutgers, Boston College and Cincinnati.
Bulldogs receiver Cedric Brown, meanwhile, will be playing his college career out of the MAC with Ohio under veteran head coach Frank Solich.
“I think it will be a great fit and he really likes the school,” Walker said. “The coaching staff seems to be a good fit with what he’s able to do and I know they’re very excited about him. I think he’s going to be going to a great program and playing for some great coaches.”
Brown finished his tenure with Martinsburg tallying over 4,000 all-purpose yards. At receiver alone, he totaled 2,635 yards and 34 touchdowns during his high school career.
“He’s been a big part of what we’ve done here for the last four years and he’s just a great young man with very high character,” Walker said. “He’s a good kid.”
“He was kind of an unknown until this year and the way the recruiting process is now, if you’re not getting offers after your junior year, it becomes tough. The recruiting game has really changed and I think he had that type of potential – but, what do I know.” - Dave Walker on quarterback Justin Clinton’s lack of D-I offers
Aside from those two, Martinsburg quarterback Justin ‘Cookie’ Clinton signed with Charleston to play at the Division II level. While he had interest from UNC Charlotte and Delaware State, Clinton’s name didn’t get a ton of interest from higher D-I programs, despite a tremendous senior season where he rushed and threw for over 1,500 yards apiece.
“I really was (surprised there weren’t more D-I offers),” Walker said. “But he was kind of an unknown until this year and the way the recruiting process is now, if you’re not getting offers after your junior year, it becomes tough. The recruiting game has really changed and I think he had that type of potential – but, what do I know.”
What he does know is that Charleston is getting a huge athletic talent in Clinton.
“I know he went down for a visit and really liked it. (Head coach) Pat Kirkland and David Hill really did a nice job of recruiting him and he just really liked it,” Walker said. “Cookie’s just one of those guys that doesn’t want to make a lot of fanfare about it. He just got up that morning and signed with them – he didn’t really shop around a whole lot. He went down and visited, he liked it and that’s what he wanted to do.”
And as for the way-too-early outlook on his returning Martinsburg team next year looking for a fourth straight Class AAA title?
“Our kids are working hard on the weight room and I like what I’m seeing so far,” Walker said. “It’s still a long way off, but as long as they continue to work, we’ll be in pretty good shape.”