The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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December 21, 2005

RB Gwaltney ends the speculation: He’s gone

MORGANTOWN — The news that highly-hyped freshman running back Jason Gwaltney has left the West Virginia football squad comes as no surprise.

The most hyped player in the history of the program is leaving Morgantown and will attend Nassau (N.Y.) Community College on Long Island.

Did I say hyped?

Make that super-hype.

Remember the ESPN News appearance to announce he was coming to WVU.

Or the fact that he said he would start this fall and wanted to be the next Adrian Peterson (the Oklahoma star who burst on the scene as a true freshman last year).

Coach Rich Rodriguez told reporters Monday “He was not in position to confirm” Gwaltney’s impending transfer but “I know he’s talked about it. His options are really limited.”

Gwaltney won’t be able to play for a Division I team before the spring of 2007, although if he attends a junior college, he can play at that level next season. He will have to graduate from a JC before he will be eligible to play Division I football.

The Charleston Daily Mail reported that a WVU source said USC and Ohio State have told the 6-foot-1, 230-pound Gwaltney they are still interested.

Gwaltney is the latest failed big-time recruit at West Virginia.

What happened with Gwaltney, the only true freshman in the history of the school to have his jersey on sale at the WVU bookstore?

He seemed to be rounding into shape — scoring twice against Maryland and rushing for 57 yards at Rutgers before he suffered a knee injury. After that, he missed some rehab assignments and even more class.

That put him directly in Rich Rodriguez’s doghouse. And he took to that like putting a square object through a round hole.

And then there’s the fact that classmate Steve Slaton has become a household name in the state, rushing for 924 yards and 16 TDs.

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