Miramar Walk-On Ready to Compete at WVU - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Miramar Walk-On Ready to Compete at WVU


While his teammates took their turns signing for scholarships to a variety of programs Wednesday, D'Vontis Arnold had a slightly different form in hand.

The Miramar (Fla.) running back had made the decision to give up a scholarship offer at Bethune-Cookman to instead accept an invitation as a preferred walk-on at West Virginia.

"I signed a paper that said I was going to attend WVU to play football," says Arnold. "I have to go up there, show what I have, show my talent and then hopefully I'll get a scholarship. That's what I'm going up there to do."

Arnold was faced with a choice between what may be an easier route both on himself and his family or taking on a challenge that while filled with uncertainty, could pay off immensely if he's up to it. He chose the more difficult path, and with encouragement from the people around him, he intends to succeed.

"My mom and my coaches already told me I have to go up there and I can't lollygag around," he says. "I need to go up there and get it, and that's what I plan on doing."

One of his coaches who was instrumental in bringing the Mountaineers into the picture was of course Damon Cogdell, the former WVU linebacker who has been a big part of the success current coaches have had recruiting Miramar athletes.

Cogdell has made it clear in the past that he never tries to push a student to his alma mater, but if one asks about WVU, he rarely has anything negative to say about his time there.

But even without Cogdell to give him a push, there was another factor recently that caught Arnold's attention.

"The Orange Bowl," says Arnold. "Their offense was kind of like our offense from this past season, so I just thought I'd be a great fit for their program."

Miramar's offense this past season helped the team come away with 13 victories as it spent much of the season in the nation's top 10. When Arnold comes to WVU, he'll be joining another key part of that Patriots attack with Devonte Mathis, a receiver who signed with the Mountaineers Wednesday.

"It's going to be a very good thing because Devonte is a very good friend of mine," says Arnold. "I played on the same offense as him, I protected him at quarterback and he blocked for me so I could get in the secondary, so it's very good. We have a good connection and I think it's going to be a lot of fun."

At 6-foot, 200 pounds, Arnold isn't cut from the same cloth as the freshman rushers WVU brought in a season ago. He likes to think that his game is more versatile than many other backs because he's put in the time and effort to make it so.

"I'm very determined; I'm a tough runner," he says. "I don't let the first man bring me down. Not only do I run the ball, because I'm a running back, I take pride in being able to protect the quarterback. In the offseason, I took time out to work on my pass blocking. I also improved on my receiving and now I've been working on getting faster."

Arnold will have an uphill climb ahead of him, but there's a reason why WVU running backs coach Robert Gillespie singled him out as a preferred walk-on. He has potential, and it will be up to him to reach it.

The best part of the entire equation for Arnold is that he will have a support system in Morgantown that wants to see him excel. Not only will Mathis be there for him, but so will three other former Patriots you may have heard of – Geno Smith, Stedman Bailey and Ivan McCartney.

Arnold and McCartney won a state title together in Arnold's sophomore year. It was that year, McCartney's senior, that Arnold first really learned about West Virginia University and its connection with his high school.

Now he wants to add his name to the legacy.  

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