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Five Enroll Early, Begin WVU Football Careers

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WVU freshman DB Karl Joseph WVU freshman DB Karl Joseph
MORGANTOWN -

Monday marks the first day of classes at West Virginia University for the second semester and for a group of freshmen, it's the start of their time as members of the Mountaineers football team.

Sean Walters, a defensive back from Hollywood, Fla., is among five early enrollees getting a head start to their first season with WVU.

Along with Walters, quarterback Ford Childress, defensive lineman Imarjaye Albury, defensive back Karl Joseph and receiver Jordan Thompson moved in to their dorm rooms over the weekend to begin their college careers.

For Walters, there's plenty of excitement about getting his academics started and beginning to put in work with his teammates, but leaving behind friends and family was certainly difficult as embarked on this journey.

"It was tough leaving my mom and my little sister and my brother and everything like that," he says. "You know you've got the high school girlfriend that you've always got to leave behind, so it was a bittersweet moment, but I was excited to get up here."

For the past few weeks, Walters has had the chance to get to know his Mountaineers even better as they essentially came to his backyard in preparation for the Orange Bowl.

He attended practices at nearby Barry University, reinforcing his interest and his decision to join the team.

"It was a great experience. Just seeing the type of environment that they were put in, it made me want to be up here even more when I saw all the interactions with the media and how much love the guys get, I knew I really wanted to be a part of that," says Walters.

On Jan. 4, Walters sat inside Sun Life Stadium (in the nose bleeds, he points out) to watch his future team demolish the ACC champion.

"That was a crazy performance. It was out of the blue," he says. "Everybody was doubting West Virginia that they weren't going to amount to nothing and do nothing and they had Sammy Watkins and Clemson as the favorites. It made me want to have a chip on my shoulder coming in because West Virginia has a chip on their shoulder and came in and did what they had to do."

Joseph, who hails from Orlando, Fla., watched the game at home before leaving for Morgantown that night. If he wasn't excited enough to get to his college town, the 70-33 result certainly provided adrenaline for the drive.

When he got to the Milan Puskar Center, he met with his fellow freshmen and had a chance to see the Orange Bowl championship trophy. He posed for a photo with it, knowing what kind of program he is poised to join.

"It was a really cool feeling," says Joseph. "We saw that trophy on TV and now you get to hold it. The program's doing really big things and I'm just happy to be here."

Signing day isn't until February, so Joseph knows the freshman class he's currently a part of will grow tremendously when the summer months come around, but he's confident that he and the other four early enrolling Mountaineers have made a good decision for their futures.

"Physically, we're going to be in better shape and we'll be further ahead in the weight room than everybody else," says Joseph. "Academics are a big plus, also. It gives us a bigger chance to start next year since we've had all the spring practices."

First up, though, is adjusting to college life.

Both Walters and Joseph have 9:30 a.m. classes Monday morning. They'll have to get used to campus and to their schedules and to a new life hundreds of miles from home.

But they know they came to Morgantown with a goal in mind and the work toward accomplishing it is getting off to a head start.

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