March 4, 2012
Local linebacker not quite ready to say yes to Herd
As a hometown boy, Huntington native Elijah Wellman admits it will be hard to say "no" to Marshall.
However, the Spring Valley High School junior and Class of 2013 prospect isn't ready to say "yes" to the Thundering Herd, either.
Wellman has scholarship offers from Bowling Green, Marshall and Ohio, while East Carolina reportedly is "on the verge" of extending one to the 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker.
Kentucky, Penn State, Tennessee and West Virginia also are interested in Wellman, who also plays fullback and tight end for the Timberwolves.
"It's going to be hard to not go to Marshall because all of my friends and family want to come watch me play," said Wellman, whose lead recruiter for the Thundering Herd is offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Bill Legg. "I want to be somewhere they can see me play and not have to travel super far.
"But I want to keep my options open. I haven't even played my senior season yet. I still have to get my senior highlight tape out there. I'm open to anything. I might not make a commitment until January or February. I might hold off until then."
Wellman has multiple connections to Marshall.
"I grew up playing the Turf Bowl there," he said.
His older brother, redshirt freshman linebacker Zach Wellman, is a walk-on for the Conference USA program.
"I know what happens in practice every day," said Wellman, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds. "I talk to him about it. He tells me what they do. That helps me out a little bit because I know what I will be facing when I go play. It would be cool to play with my brother, obviously."
His position coach, Larry McCloud, is one of the all-time defensive greats for the Thundering Herd.
"He wants me to make the right decision and feel comfortable with where I go," said Wellman, who bench presses 325 pounds and power cleans 345 pounds, "but he would love to see me go to Marshall and play linebacker."
Wellman plans to attend a few college camps (Bowling Green, Marshall, Ohio, Penn State and West Virginia) and a couple combines (Under Armour and National Underclassmen) during the spring and summer.
Asked to evaluate his strengths and weaknesses, Wellman said: "I like to stop the run game. I like hitting. I like to mash people's heads. There is nothing like good solid hits. I like punishing people and taking on lead blockers. I need to work on my speed to the outside. My pass drops are looking all right, but I can get there a little quicker."
Asked to describe himself off the field, Wellman said: "I'm not a bad kid. I do what my parents want me to do. I go to church every Sunday. I hang out with the right crowd."
Like most teenage boys from the Tri-State area, his favorite hobby is hunting.
Wellman, a three-sport athlete who plays football, basketball and baseball at Spring Valley, has a 3.5 grade point average. He has not taken the ACT but will do so in April.
Wellman wants to pursue a career in law and might major in criminal justice like his older brother.
Marshall was the first school to offer a scholarship to Wellman, who admits it was an emotional moment for him. His telephone conversation with Legg and Thundering Herd head coach Doc Holliday brought a tear to his eye.
"It was surprising because I hadn't been talking to them much," he said. "It's a good feeling to know they want me to come play for them."
Jacob Messer is the managing editor for HerdNation.com. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. All comments and feedback are welcome.
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