WVU Target Daryl Chestnut Preparing for Football, Future - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Target Daryl Chestnut Preparing for Football, Future

Photo: Jorge Herrera Photo: Jorge Herrera

As college scholarship offers continue to find their way into his mailbox, Daryl Chestnut can't help but think of what his athleticism is presenting him.

A chance to play football beyond his prep years and at the highest amateur level of the sport is certainly part of it, but what comes to mind first has little to do with what got him the offer and more to do with how he intends to use it.

"I would be the first person in my family to go to a major college and stay the whole four years," he says. "My mom always tells me the education is more than football because you can fall back on your education as many times as you want to, but you can only play football once in your life."

Chestnut, a junior at Columbus High School in Miami, Fla., wants to make his mother and his family proud. He knows the opportunity to do that presents itself in many forms, but his plan is to take advantage of both aspects of the "student-athlete" designation.

Outside of football, his interests lie in business as well as entertainment.

"Like a Chad Johnson, but not as arrogant as he is," Chestnut says with a laugh.

Chestnut has the mind and the charisma to achieve his goals, whether in sports or otherwise.

A conversation with the young man reveals an engaging personality and a humor that immediately draws you in, wanting to know more about the person behind the highlight reel that has helped him pull in six offers to this point.

The attitude he brings to life and to his game is what has gotten him in position to accomplish what no one else in his family can claim through the use of a craft that he works hard to perfect.

"My mentality is when I go up there, I'm coming hard, I'm going to work harder than that guy in practice and off the field," says Chestnut.

Listed at 5-foot-9, 190 pounds, Chestnut was part of a crowded backfield at Columbus that included another running back with a WVU offer, Lorenzo Woodley. According to the Miami Herald, Chestnut finished his junior campaign with 526 yards and eight touchdowns on 44 carries, good for a 12.8-yard per carry average.

Rivals.com ranks Chestnut as the nation's No. 6 all-purpose back and he believes that versatility is what has made him attractive to teams like the Mountaineers, Florida State, N.C. State and Texas Tech.

"I'll do whatever a coach wants me to do, but I know in my heart that I'm a complete back," says Chestnut. "I can come out of the backfield, I can run between the tackles. I'm your guy. I would never lay down from any [opponent] – I can do it all."

Because of his small stature, Chestnut feels that his competitive often overlooks him. 

"Everyone underestimates my strength and my strength is my biggest weapon that I have," he says. "They think I'm small, but I can get the extra yards, I can run between the tackles. I think that's one of my biggest attributes because people underestimate the short guy and then they're like, ‘Oh man, I didn't know he could do that.'"

WVU running backs coach Robert Gillespie is finding out exactly what Chestnut can do as he recruits him. In the coming month, the Mountaineers assistant has plans to make his rounds in Florida and Columbus High is on the list of destinations. He will continue to give Chestnut the information he needs to decide whether or not West Virginia is the right fit.

"West Virginia sounds like a great school," says Chestnut. "Coach Gillespie always tells me how great it is and he's a good guy. That's a real good guy, we have good conversations and he tells me that West Virginia's the place for me to be. I've been listening to him a lot. I like West Virginia a lot."

Chestnut admits that he typically considers himself a person who would rather stay close to home, but he is open to venturing farther away.

WVU becomes a draw in that sense because in addition to having more than 20 players from his home state on the roster, the Mountaineers are welcoming his cousin, Miramar's Devonte Mathis, to the team this fall. 

The presence of family on campus could go a long way in Gillespie's pursuit of Chestnut, a player eager to succeed on the field and person determined to do the same off it.

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