Nine More Walk-Ons Join The Mountaineer Football Team
With the start of a new summer school session at West Virginia University, the Mountaineer football team has added nine new members. All are walk-ons who each come straight from the high school ranks.
Roman Hawkins, a 6-foot-1 wide receiver, makes the trip to WVU from Westminster High School, which is northwest of Baltimore. Hawkins, who was a second-team all-Carroll County honoree last fall, also excelled on the Owls’ basketball team, averaging over 15 points a game in leading WHS to the Sweet 16 round of the state’s 3A playoffs.
Maybe the most unique back story of any of these nine new Mountaineers is Chase Hill, who comes to West Virginia from Live Oak Classical School in Waco, Texas. Other than the fact that the 5-foot-11, 176-pound safety is a long way from home, not much on the surface registers as unusual. But if you dig deeper, you find out that Hill was a member of a Live Oak team that played six-man football. Six-man football, in which every player is an eligible receiver, is played by 262 small, mainly rural high schools in the state of Texas. Live Oak Classical is an exception to those farm country six-man roots, though, as the Christian school with an enrollment of 374 students grads K-12 is located in the heart of Waco, just a few blocks from Baylor University. Normally not many major college football players come from six-man programs. Hill will try to prove he is more than a smaller school star. He was the Super Centex Six-Man Player of the Year in 2016, and this past season he was 2-A first-team all-state selection, as he led Live Oak to its second straight TAPPS state championship. In 2017, he was a force in many areas in a game that values multi-dimensional players. He rushed for 1,463 yards and 21 touchdowns, caught 32 passes for 642 yards and nine TDs and also completed 96-of-162 throws for 1,879 yards and 34 more TD. As a junior, he not only totaled 2,349 yards of total offense with 31 touchdowns, he also had 65 tackles and five interceptions. Hill played baseball, basketball and ran track for the Warriors as well. He’s believed to be the first WVU player to come from a six-man high school program in many, many years.
Casey Legg also comes to the Mountaineers with an unusual background – he never played high school football. A Charleston native, he attended Cross Lanes Christian, which doesn’t have a football team. Legg helped the Warriors to four straight West Virginia Christian Athletic Tournament soccer titles, and he was also selected to the WVCAT all-tournament basketball team. He will try to convert his soccer skills into those of a football placekicker at WVU.
This latest batch of walk-ons will also provide the Mountaineers with another quarterback, as Trent Jackson joins scholarship QBs Will Grier, Jack Allison and Trey Lowe. Jackson threw for 2,174 yards and 21 TDs last year in completing 136-of-249 passes with only five interceptions in leading Kent Island High to a 9-3 record.
Evan Matthews was a first-team all-region and second-team Class 6A all-state punter at South Lakes High in Reston, Va., where he was also a diver and an Eagle Scout.
Three local defensive linemen are joining the Mountaineers, as Dalton McDaniels and Josh Ritchie come from University High, while Nick Rush was a Class A all-state selection at South Harrison (W.Va.) High School. Wide receiver Kolby Mack comes from a greater distance, as he was a football player and track athlete at Oak Park High School, which is just north or Detroit, Mich.
With this latest batch of new additions, West Virginia’s football roster now number 120 players. Approximately 75 of them are on scholarship.
Name, Pos., Ht., Wt., Cl., Exp., Hometown/High School/Previous College
Roman Hawkins, WR, 6-1, 172, Fr., HS, Hampstead, Md./Westminster
Chase Hill, S, 5-11, 176, Fr., HS, Waco, Texas/Live Oak Classical
Trent Jackson, QB, 6-2, 200, Fr., HS, Stevensville, Md./Kent Island
Casey Legg, K, 6-4, 199, Fr., HS, Charleston, W.Va./Cross Lanes Christian
Kolby Mack, WR, 5-11, 168, Fr., HS, Oak Park, Mich./Oak Park
Evan Matthes, P, 6-1, 208, Fr., HS, Reston, Va./South Lakes
Dalton McDaniels, DL, 5-10, 277, Fr., HS, Morgantown, W.Va./University
Josh Ritchie, DL, 6-0, 267, Fr., HS, Morgantown, W.Va./University
Nick Rush, DL, 5-11, 280, Fr., HS, Clarksburg, W.Va./South Harrison