The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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January 11, 2013

Van Meter finishes early to head to Fairmont State

BECKLEY — Woodrow Wilson senior Jacob Van Meter has wanted to play football at Fairmont State University for a long time. And he couldn’t wait any longer.

Van Meter finished up his high school education a semester early and will enroll in second semester classes at FSU in order to start preparing for his first season as a Falcon next fall.

He made the decision official Thursday, putting pen to paper on a letter of intent.

“I had everything I needed, so I decided I’d go up there and start taking some classes to get a head start on everybody else,” said Van Meter.

The 6-foot-2 228-pounder admitted that giving up half of his senior year in high school wasn’t an easy decision, but it was one he knew he needed to make.

“God gave me an opportunity, so I need to take advantage of it,” said Van Meter. “I’ve always wanted to go to Fairmont. I love the campus up there. The way I look at it, I have a head start on all the other freshmen.”

That decdication comes from a love of football, a game he began playing in the third grade.

“I’ve had great coaches,” said Van Meter. “They’ve really helped me a lot.”

Van Meter recorded 52 tackles and seven sacks as a defensive end during his senior season.

FSU finished 4-6 overall last season and 4-4 in WVIAC play. Mike Lopez, who had coached the team for the last 10 seasons, was let go, and Jason Woodman was named the school’s new coach on Dec. 20.

Woodman spent the last two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Bowie State, after working two years at Concord as the wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator.

He began his coaching career at LSU as a graduate assistant under head caoches Nick Saban and Les Miles. He served as offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher’s assistant, and then went to Florida State with Fisher before being hired at California University (Pa.) as the running backs coach.

Woodman’s most recent coaching hire was fomer WVU All-American Mike Compton. The 12-year NFL veteran won a pair of Super Bowls for the New England Patriots. He was the head coach at Patrick Henry High School in Glade Spring, Va., for three seasons, before spending the last two years as the offensive line coach at Bluefield College.

“I haven’t met him yet,” said Van Meter, who said the coaching changes had little impact on his decision to become a Falcon. “But I’m looking forward to meeting him.

“I just want to go up there and hit the weight room to get bigger, stronger and quicker.”

Van Meter will begin classes on Monday, working toward a degree in forensics.

— E-mail: chuffman

and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

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