HUNTINGTON — Marshall University freshman quarterback Grant Wells walked across campus to the Chris Cline Indoor Practice Facility and watched his former George Washington High School teammates compete in 7-on-7 scrimmages.
Patriots coach Steve Edwards Jr. resisted the urge to put his record-setting passer on the field.
Edwards said he would be pleased for more of his players to join Wells on the Thundering Herd roster.
“Our kids get to come to Marshall and see other places and allow them to see us,” Edwards said. “The exposure is good, but basically it’s the competition part. Everything you see us do in this 7 on 7 is what you’ll see us do on Friday night. We work on what we do and try to help our kids get better and have some fun.”
Thursday’s 7-on-7 scrimmages allowed several premier area high school players to take a look at the Thundering Herd’s facilities. Ironton junior linebacker Reid Carrico, who has scholarship offers from Marshall, Ohio State, Clemson, Alabama and Notre Dame, among many others, took part, as did GW wide receiver Alex Mazelon, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound junior who provides a big, sure-handed target for whoever replaces Wells at quarterback.
Spring Valley defensive back David Livingston and quarterback/wide receiver/defensive back Nate Ellis also participated with their team and are drawing college attention.
“I think it’s great just to get us ready for the season, to get our quarterbacks in shape and build chemistry and morale,” Mazelon said. “We get closer together and it’s good to play people in state.”
GW faced Ironton, Spring Valley, Logan and Winfield on Thursday. Spring Valley is a three-time West Virginia Class AAA runner-up. Ironton is an Ohio Division IV playoff team.
Mazelon said he thinks playing such competition will help the Patriots improve.
“A lot better,” he said after being asked how good GW will be this season. “That’s why I say this is the best 7-on-7 so far because we’re getting ourselves together and haven’t lost that. It’s coming together.”
Edwards also liked being tested by strong teams.
“You get to see other competition, good competition,” Edwards said. “For me the main thing is getting to work on something we need to work on and finding out a little about our team, how they’re going to rally, how they react if we have a good day, how they react if we have a bad day. We’re experiencing a little bit of everything. I enjoy doing these. We have a good time with it. I enjoy it and our kids and parents enjoy it.
“You get to find out a lot about your kids, especially if you’ve got a young bunch. You get good competition and get to see how they react under pressure. Anybody can practice and look good handing off with no pressure on them. That’s what I like about here is the pressure and the competitiveness. That’s what we get to do is learn a lot about the kids, especially when you have a young team. We have some kids competing for jobs and this gives them an opportunity to show off a little bit.”
With thunderstorms popping up throughout the day Thursday, the teams moved inside. Mazelon said he liked what he saw from the facility.
“This is nice,” he said, looking around. “I like the turf. It’s the best we’ve seen so far. We went to Tennessee last week. It wasn’t bad. There was a lot of competition, like from 6A schools, but I like this better.”