10 Early Enrollees And 4 Departees
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–The Mountaineer football program signed 20 prospects to National Letters of Intent during the new early period last month.
Of those 20, seven enrolled at WVU for the spring semester, which got under way this past Monday
All three of West Virginia’s junior college signees have enrolled (linebacker Charlie Benton, safety Joshua Norwood and cornerback Keith Washington), and they were joined by four of the 16 high school signees. That quartet graduated from high school a semester early to get a jumpstart on their college careers. Those high school early enrollees are linebacker Josh Chandler, quarterback Trey Lowe, offensive lineman Briason Mays and offensive lineman Blaine Scott.
Those seven, who enrolled at WVU on Jan. 9, are joined on the Mountaineers football team by three walk-ons who also began classes at West Virginia this week. Those three walk-ons are:
• T.J. Kpan, RB, 5-10, 195 lbs. – A native of McMurray, Pa., where he attended Peters Township High School, the junior-to-be is transferring to WVU from Seton Hill University. A native of Liberia, his father was killed in that country’s civil war when Tramaty (known to all as T.J.) was young, and he and aunt moved to the Pittsburgh area when he was age five. He soon began participating in sports and excelled at football, though knee injuries have slowed him previously.
• Sam Trapuzzano, PK/P, 5-7 lbs. – A native of Washington, Pa., he was a first-team all-state punter (40.0 ypk) and successful placekicker (12-of-17 on field goals with a 43-yard long as a senior in 2015), while also playing defensive back. He attended Bucknell University the past two years, but an injury in the 2016 preseason hampered his opportunity to get onto the field. He’ll look for a fresh start at WVU, competing as both a punter and placekicker.
• Jesse Beal, TE, 6-6, 250 lbs. – Beal is getting a late start on his college career, as he spent the past 10 years pursuing professional baseball opportunities. A three-sport athlete (baseball, basketball and football) at South County High, which is in Lorton, Va., Beal was drafted as a pitcher in the 14th round by the Baltimore Orioles in 2008. He bounced around in that organization for seven years (2008-14) but never got above the High A level. His most successful seasons came in the early going, when he started a total of 32 games over the course of the 2009 (in Bluefield) and ’10 campaigns with an ERA of 4.02 during that time. But an injury kept him off the field completely in 2011, and his career never seemed to recover. He stayed with the Orioles organization for three additional years, switching to a reliever role, and then was released by Baltimore in 2015. He spent two more years trying to resurrect that career in independent leagues, but now he’s moving on from baseball and will be trying football as a 27-year-old freshman. Jesse’s younger brother Evan helped pitch the South Carolina Gamecocks to the 2012 College World Series before moving on to the pro ranks. He was drafted by Kansas City and advanced to AAA in 2016 before being traded to the Miami. Evan is now trying to work his way up through the Marlins’ system as a relief pitcher.
While West Virginia welcomed 10 early enrollees, four Mountaineer football players, who were on scholarship and had eligibility remaining, have not returned to WVU for the spring semester. They will look to further their playing careers elsewhere.
Three of those would have been seniors in 2018 – wide receiver Ricky Rogers, offensive lineman Ray Raulerson and defensive lineman Jalen Harvey – while the fourth was junior-to-be offensive lineman Alec Shriner.
Rogers saw action in 10 games this past year in a backup receiver role, but none of the others played in more than a handful of games.