MHS’s Anderson stays home; most others don’t wander far

BY ERIC HANLON The Dominion Post

SIGNEE photos. Page 8-B.
Wednesday was signing day, which meant that all across the country, high school athletes made their official commitments to the college of their choice.
For Morgantown High’s Tyler Anderson, that choice was easy as he turned down a full scholarship offer to play at Bowling Green (Ohio) University, opting instead to accept an invitation to walk on to the WVU football team.
“This is a big opportunity for me and I’m excited to play for the team in my home town,” Anderson said. “I know I can play here, but I know I’m going to have to work.”
By signing his letter of intent, Anderson, a linebacker/tight end, has an opportunity to do what many others only dream of.
“This is pretty great,” Anderson said. “I moved here from Fairmont when I was in kindergarten and have been a fan of WVU ever since. I know where everything in this town is and I know how crazy this town gets on game day. I’m glad to be given the opportunity.”
Already, Anderson has gained the attention of his new head coach.
“I’m very, very excited about Tyler Anderson,” Bill Stewart said before receiving word Anderson had officially signed with the Mountaineers. “I think this guy can really be a player for us. I talked to [MHS head] coach John Bowers earlier this week and I’m just hoping that Tyler decides to come be a Mountaineer.”
Anderson isn’t the only area player who had to make a decision between schools. MHS teammate Colin Casselman also rejected a significant scholarship offer, choosing instead to take a 50 percent scholarship from Fairmont State University.
“I visited other places,” Casselman said. “[West Virginia] Wesleyan offered me a full ride, but it seemed right at Fairmont State. The coaches there are great and the players are all so friendly. That, and Fairmont is 20 minutes from my home town.”
Joining Casselman at Fairmont State will be MHS teammate Daniel Strosnider, University’s Brandon Tucker and Grafton’s Damon Waters. All three accepted full scholarship offers to play football for Fairmont State.
Tucker, a running back/defensive back, had similar reasons for choosing FSU.
“It’s close to home and it’s important to me to have family there when I play,” Tucker said. “Since I’ve played football, I’ve always wanted to eventually play at a [Division 1] school, but, D-2 has just as many good athletes.”
Strosnider, a running back/defensive back, was thrilled but also relieved to have the exhausting recruiting process over with.
“It’s a relief,” he said with a grin. “This process is long and hard and can be very stressful. With all of the time and work that goes into it, it feels great that it’s over.”
Waters, a running back/wide receiver, also was glad the recruiting process was over. And, after winning a state title at Grafton this past season, he was also given options before signing, receiving a scholarship offer from West Virginia Wesleyan as well.
After signing, Waters summed up the sense of achievement he felt.
“After all of the studying, and lifting and burning, and getting up at 6 a.m. for two-a-days — all that hard work finally paid off,” he said. “That all crossed my mind while I was signing, and it felt good.”
It wasn’t just area football players making their commitments Wednesday.
Also accepting athletic scholarships were UHS soccer players Kylie Sphar and Alex Cranston.
Sphar accepted a partial scholarship to play at Slippery Rock (Pa.) University.
“Both of my parents went to Slippery Rock and my sister goes there now,” Sphar said. “So, I’m pretty familiar with the program. That, and I’ve wanted to play in college since I was a freshman in high school.”
Cranston accepted a scholarship equivalent to about one-third of her tuition, at High Point (N.C.) University.
But, unlike many other local athletes, proximity to home was not a deciding factor for Cranston.
“I’m so excited,” Cranston said. “I feel blessed to be in these shoes and it feels good to achieve this. I’ve always wanted to go south, so this is ideal.”

Morgantown High’s Tyler Anderson signs to walk on for football at WVU. With him are his father, Jack Torsney, and mother, Kathy Torsney. Tyler’s biological father is Mike Anderson.