MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Coming from West Virginia, athletes are often overlooked. The naysayers say that they are not talented enough to play on a Division I stage but the West Virginia University football team is showing that isn’t the case at all.
Currently, the Mountaineers have several members of their team that see snaps and hail from those country roads, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Reese Donahue, Dante Stills, Darius Stills, Dylan Tonkery, Dante Bonamico, Jake Abbott and Shea Campbell are just a few of the home grown men on the WVU roster.
With the success, they have displayed it shows that there is plenty of talent in West Virginia.
For those young men, they truly understand the meaning of playing for the state and it’s a dream come true. Therefore, they tend to play with a chip on their shoulder.
“It’s fun because from the outside looking in, you think okay West Virginia don’t have a lot of kids that can play ball, especially at the level we are now but you come to practice, you come to games, we are shelling out just like anybody else,” Darius Stills said. “It’s like okay maybe West Virginia kids can play. So then the coaches look for in-state recruits that much more and we just keep getting better and better. That’s West Virginia kids. We have a chip on our shoulder because we play for the state we’ve grown up in. There’s no one else. We have no one else to compete with as a program just West Virginia Football. Growing up, ask all of us, we’ve always wanted to play here. It’s a dream come true so we play that much better, that much harder.”
Tonkery agrees that he too felt that chip on his shoulder when he first began playing for the Mountaineers.
“It kind of went away now but the first game that I played I really felt that on my back and feel that I was out there playing for my team that I wanted to my entire life,” he said.
Now, other young athletes can look up to these in-state kids and know they can be “good enough”.
Cover Photo Credit: Shanna Rose, BGS