Dallastown running back and defensive back Rodney Scott always dreamed of attending West Virginia University.
He fell in love with the program while watching his favorite Mountaineer, Tavon Austin, play football there several years ago.
Scott set a goal to one day follow in Austin's footsteps and play football for the program. Last Friday, he got one step closer to fulfilling that goal by signing his National Letter of Intent to continue his academic and athletic career at the university in the fall.
"I've always wanted to go there," Scott said. "One of my role models, Tavon Austin, went there, and I always wanted to attend West Virginia and play football. So it felt great."
Scott was offered a preferred walk-on opportunity, pending on improving his academic standing once he arrives on campus in the summer. More than likely, Scott believes he'll have to sit out his freshman season to focus on his studies and then will hopefully take the field as a sophomore.
Scott's recruitment and announcement flew under the radar around York County, especially for an NCAA Division I-caliber athlete. But, his conversations with coaches from the program date back at least to the summer, when he worked out at a number of Nike Sparq combines and impressed a number of D-I coaches, including ones from West Virginia. Scott remained in contact with the coaches from the Mountaineers throughout the season, who told him that his performance on the field would ultimately determine what kind of offer he'd receive from them.
Unfortunately for Scott, he shared backfield duties for the Wildcats with Zion DeVance, limiting his production. Scott finished the year with 663 rushing yards, but achieved that by averaging 6.3 yards per carry while scoring seven touchdowns. His limited touches, and the fact that he played in a league (the York-Adams League) not known as a hotbed for D-I recruits, likely hurt Scott's stock. That's likely why he'll go to WVU as a preferred walk-on, rather than as a scholarship player.
Typically, a high school football player will make his biggest statement for college coaches during his junior and senior seasons. Scott, however, was limited in both years.
Facing some difficulties, Scott and his mother had to transfer out of the Dallastown School District before his junior year, instead going to rival Red Lion High School. There, Scott was third string behind standouts Alex Keough and Dylan Gurreri and struggled to get substantial touches. He transferred back to Dallastown following his junior season, where he was part of a two-man backfield this past season with DeVance.
So, just to get a chance to play football at the next level is a blessing for Scott.
"I've been through a lot in my life and it always feels like I'm going through things," Scott said. "So, me and my mom found this out and it lifted a weight off my shoulders."
Even for Dallastown head coach Kevin Myers, the news of his offer came as a surprise, but a welcomed one at that.
"I know he and his mother were talking to the staff down there," Myers said. "But, I was unaware they were going to be offering him a preferred walk-on spot to him. ... It's a great opportunity for him. Go out there, work hard and have a chance to do something that you dreamed of doing."
While at West Virginia, the 6-foot, 180-pound Scott will be studying physical therapy. When he gets on the field, he'll be tested at both running back and as a slot receiver, as well as potentially playing defensive back.
Register off to Lock Haven: Scott was one of two Wildcats to commit to a college last Friday.
Senior defensive end Brice Register signed to play on the NCAA Division II level for Lock Haven University next year. Register was a York-Adams League Division I second-team selection at defensive end by the coaches in 2016.
Myers said he's been in touch with a number of other schools about a couple more of his players signing to play football in college and they should be signing in the near future.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org