MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Call it the Rodney Gallagher effect. Neal Brown does, and he’s ready for it to come to Morgantown.
Gallagher, WVU’s top signee will make the short trek from Laurel Highlands High in Uniontown, Pennsylvania to West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia, a drive of about 36 minutes. He has made the drive several times as a young Mountaineer fan, but when he arrives in the summer, he won’t go back north for a while.
The four-star athlete/wide receiver’s dream came true on Wednesday when he signed his National Letter of Intent to join West Virginia, following in the footsteps of stars that he watched from the stands.
“I could say it’s a dream come true, just going to watch guys like Geno Smith, and Tavon Austin and stuff like that,” Gallagher said. “So, when I was younger, I really didn’t understand the game of football as much as I do now, obviously. But, just seeing those guys make plays, and the crowd how much they were behind them, and you know, West Virginia was top-notch.”
Gallagher won’t come to Morgantown empty-handed. WVU coach Neal Brown praised his close-knit family and remarked that it appears their whole community rallies around them.
That, Brown says, should make its way down to Morgantown.
“He is the pride of Uniontown…and he’s going to bring a big group. Every time I’ve been to a basketball game, it’s standing-room only,” Brown said. “Every time I go to a football game, and I’ve seen multiple live, it’s standing-room only. So I think we’re going to have some Rodney Gallagher effect right here, too.”
Gallagher picked WVU for similar reasons. Brown and his staff were ever-present throughout his recruitment process, even showing up to his birthday party this fall.
That hard work paid off, as the Mountaineers beat out a host of top programs. (But it did come down to the wire.)
“They supported me from day one, and they recruited me hard for all my four years [of high school],” Gallagher told Gold and Blue Nation at his signing ceremony Wednesday. “When I first met coach Brown, I just knew from the start he was a great guy, and he did a lot for me and my family just being there for us. I’m ready to play for him, and I’m just ready to be a part of the program.”