MORGANTOWN, W.Va–Growing up in the Mountain State, people are usually either West Virginia football fans or Marshall fans.
Elijah Wellman grew up in Huntington, which is Marshall territory, but the 6-foot-2, 232-pound fullback had a different team. He loved the Mountaineers.
“I have been a WVU fan my whole life,” Wellman said. “My family has always been big Mountaineer fans.
Wellman and his family took the 208-mile trip from Huntington to Morgantown to cheer on the Mountaineers during his childhood.
“I came to games before I was recruited,” he said. “I always liked coming up here to the football game.
Now, the redshirt sophomore is living the dream many WV children dream of. He is wearing the old gold and blue.
Former Mountaineer full back Owen Schmitt was an athlete many children in the state looked up to. After all the man could tear down the field like a “runaway beer truck”, referring to Schmitt’s 57-yard touchdown run in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma.
Wellman was one of those kids who admired Schmitt. In fact, the Huntington native often draws comparisons to Schmitt, but he is just trying to make a name for himself.
“He’s an idol of mine, but I’m trying to be my own person as much as I can and leave a name for myself,” Wellman said. “If that’s the comparison being brought up, that’s pretty cool to me, but it’s not exactly what I’m trying to do.”
Wellman doesn’t care if he gets the fancy touchdown run against Oklahoma on Saturday. He just wants to help his team.
“I’m trying to make blocks and do the stuff right,” he said. “I don’t know. I want to do everything right that I can for the team.”
Wellman is doing exactly that. He is becoming a red-zone threat and defenses are learning his name.
Wellman had blocks against Maryland that allowed teammates Wendell Smallwood and Rushel Shell to find holes and find the end zone.
Head coach Dana Holgorsen is well aware of what Wellman is doing.
“He blocked better than I’ve seen him,” Holgorsen said.
That is exactly what the WVU coach wants from Wellman.
“We want him to block the right guy, and we want him to do it with great pad level and finish the block,” Holgorsen said. “That is way more important than him slipping into the end zone and catching an uncontested pass.”
On Saturday when the Mountaineers take on the Sooners, look for Wellman to do whatever it takes to help WVU pull out the victory. Whether it be scoring a touchdown or throwing a block.
Wellman knows exactly what it means to bleed blue and gold, and he will fight with that pride.