Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sticking To Your Dreams

How many times does it happen? The swift RB in HS has dreams of playing RB in college, only to be told that his skills are more suited to WR or, more predictably, DB. The RB, though, still yearns to play RB, and he ultimately ends up getting lost in someone's system. Either he goes to the big-time school and gets buried, transferring to a DII or DIII school or simply fading away, or he plays DB but his heart never really is in it. The competition is so tough and so few can play the featured running back, so the HS star goes from a year of euphoria (his senior year) to a year of despair.

This guy, though, is different (he's the one featured at the top of the linked article). His name is Steve Slaton, and a lot of what I would call mid-major DI teams recruited him out of HS -- as a defensive back. Even though he simply tore it up at RB. Tore it up. Still, the DI schools -- not your Michigans and USC's, mind you, but the Marylands of the world, wanted him to play defensive back. Some local papers took the bite, too, as I recall that the Philadelphia Inquirer, to honor his accomplishments on the field, named him first-team all area, not as an RB, but as a DB.

Still, the kid knew what he wanted, and his confidence never wavered. West Virginia beat Louisville in triple OT yesterday in a game that Mountaineer fans will be talking about for a while.

All this kid did was score 6 touchdowns!

In his debut!

Against a nationally ranked team.

Some RBs never score that in a career, let alone one game. Now, Steve Slaton didn't start the season #1 on the depth chart, but he hung in there, he prepared, and when his number was called, he bowled them over. Literally and figuratively. Six TDs against a team like Louisville is quite a coming out party.

WVa should thank Steve Slaton for sticking to his dream of being a major-college running back. For if he hadn't, he'd be playing DB for Ralph Friedgen at Maryland, and Coach Friedgen, an offensive expert, has to be wondering what he (and many others) didn't see in Steve Slaton that Rich Rodriguez and the WVa staff were willing to take a chance on.

And Steve Slaton has to be brimming with confidence. Yesterday's performance validated the most important decision in his life to date -- where to cast his lot in college, and how. Having read what he accomplished yesterday, it seems like the frosh RB is good not only at life decisions, but on-field decisions too.


Anonymous said...

Hate to ruin a dream story, but his debut was against V Tech.

SportsProf said...

You're not really ruining it. My understanding from the article I read was that this was the first time he was the featured back. Is that right, or did he get a lot of time against Va Tech?