West Virginia isn’t exactly known as a breeding ground for college football players like Texas and Florida, but the quality of talent is growing and more kids are emerging as Division I caliber players.
Last Saturday, DubVNation attended the second annual 304 Elite football camp in Parkersburg, WV. Dylan Thomas, founder of 304 Elite, spends all year watching film and looking at stats to make sure that he gets the best players in the state to his camp to perform in front of various colleges. He is putting West Virginia high school football players on the map.
Ranging from Weirton to Bluefield, there were over 150 student-athletes participating in front of 20 different colleges, including Division I schools Virginia Military Institute and Morehead State University.
Over the last couple of years, the state has produced some top-tier offensive linemen. Among those is Darnell Wright, Riley Locklear, and Billy Ross. Charleston has produced Louisville standout linebacker Dorian Etheridge, and WVU’s very own Derrek Pitts and Kerry Martin Jr.
Coming out of Fairmont Senior High School, Darius and Dante Stills will look to terrorize opposing quarterbacks and running backs once more this upcoming season. Former Wheeling Park wide receiver, Elijah Bell, is projected to be drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft out of North Carolina A&T after being a key part of their back-to-back HBCU National Championships.
For the near future, 6’6″ 260 pound defensive end Sean Martin from Bluefield is a high priority target for the Mountaineers. Currently holding 20 offers, the race looks to be between UNC, VT, PSU, and WVU. Also, Zeiqui Lawson from South Charleston has been attracting a lot of attention over the last couple of months. At 6’3″ 240 pounds, he still has a lot of room to grow as he graduates in 2021. Also in the class of 2021 is defensive back Isaiah Johnson of Bluefield. Johnson is rated as the best defensive back in the country and the fifth overall player.
Neal Brown has made it clear that he wants to keep in-state talent at WVU, and although the talent may not have been great in the past, West Virginia is on the rise. Kids from West Virginia have to work much harder to make it to the next level, but with 304 Elite helping kids gain exposure there is a bright future for young athletes in the Mountain State.