Looking at Impact Walk-ons for West Virginia Football Over the Years

Admittedly, this is far from being a complete list, that would be next to impossible. But WVSports.com looks at just a few of the players who have made an impact on West Virginia’s football program over the years.

This list is designed for players who started their careers as subs, even if they received a scholarship later on.

Braham is the gold standard for visitors to the West Virginia Mountaineers football program.

Offensive lineman Rich Braham – 1990-93

Perhaps the most decorated name on this list, Braham was a product of University High School and walked in West Virginia, where he became a standout offensive line. Braham made 37 appearances at left tackle for the Mountaineers during his career and was a senior captain during his senior season. The epitome of toughness, Braham battled multiple injuries en route to an NFL career with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Quarterback Owen Schmitt — 2005-07

Schmitt just wanted an opportunity – any opportunity to show what he could do at the next level after playing in Wisconsin River Falls, a D-III program. He found that out in West Virginia, where he not only proved he could play at this level, but also became an integral part of the 2005-07 Mountaineers. Over his career, he rushed for 1,003 yards and 13 touchdowns, adding 288 receiving yards and two scores. And those totals don’t even include the holes he dug for Pat White and Steve Slaton.

LB Najee Goode — 2008-11

Goode moved from Cleveland to West Virginia and had to earn his role throughout his first few seasons, but he played a much bigger role in his final two seasons. Goode appeared in 56 games during his career and started the last two seasons at SAM and then at linebacker for MIKE. Goode finished his career with 142 tackles, 26.5 tackles for loss and a pair of interceptions before playing for multiple NFL teams. He was last with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

WR Zach Abraham – 1991-94

The Triadelphia native moved on to West Virginia, and while it took him some time to get used to only appearing in one game during his first two years, he saw things pick up in his third season with 10 catches for 174 yards and a score. But it was his senior year that made him a legend in many eyes due to a successful campaign with 41 receptions for 752 yards and 6 touchdowns, including the 60-yard touchdown to beat Pitt in 1994 in the final seconds after the Mountaineers blew the lead. .

K Paul Woodside – 1981-84

Woodside is another member of the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, but his career originally began as an understudy for Falls Church, Virginia. Over the course of his four-year career, Woodside would rewrite the West Virginia kicking record book, setting school records for scoring (323 points), field goals (74) and field goals attempted (93). He also made 79.6 percent of his field goal attempts. An all-American first-team player, he will forever be remembered for many things, including his fourth quarter field goal to lead the Mountaineers over Penn State in 1984.

LB Scott Gyorko — 2001-04

A collegiate product that followed in West Virginia after not receiving any offers out of high school and certainly made the most of her college experience. Gyorko started his career as a reserve but rose to the starting lineup, where he finished his four-year career with 222 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, and 3 forced fumbles.

LB Ben Collins – 1998-2002

Collins came to West Virginia as a replacement after a stellar career in North Marion, where he was best known for his offensive talents. At Morgantown, he would play defense and, after developing his body, became a starter during his senior season with 98 tackles and 4 tackles for loss, as well as an interception. He was also the player who grabbed his gloves to stop Pittsburgh’s game-winning pass attempt in the 2002 Brawl.

FB Moe Fofana — 2001-03

He entered the program as a substitute for Maryland, and although he earned a scholarship for his efforts, he impressed as a blocker during the course of his career. Fofana touched the ball just five times for 28 yards and a touchdown during his time at Morgantown, but he earned the respect and trust of many due to his blocking.

WR Grantis Bell — 1985-88

Bell was recruited from South Florida initially as an understudy, so he’s on the roster, although he received a scholarship earlier in his career. He played all four years with 46 passes for 819 yards and six touchdowns, including a touchdown in the Fiesta Bowl for the Mountaineers.

LB Justin Arndt – 2013-16

Arndt began his career as a substitute for Martinsburg and played a role on special teams and was a reserve during his first three years with the Mountaineers. But in his senior season, Arndt elevated his game and earned a starting position, where he would account for 84 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks with admirable performance.

DB Rich Rodriguez – 1982-84

Rodriguez is much better known for what happened after his playing days, when he became head coach but spent three years on the field for the Mountaineers and made a significant play in Penn State’s 1984 game, recording an interception. He finished his career with 53 tackles and 3 picks. Rodriguez would go on to coach the Mountaineers before leaving for Michigan.


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