St. Marys’ Billeter inks with WVU

St. Marys’ Will Billeter signs on the dotted line to play football for West Virginia University as a preferred walk-on next season. Seated next to the signee is mother Jill Billeter, at left, and father Brad Billeter on the right. Photo by Joe Albright.

ST. MARYS — Blue Devil Will Billeter’s already eventful senior year became a little fuller after a brief gathering at 2:45 Thursday afternoon inside the St. Marys’ High School auditorium.

The SMHS athlete signed on the dotted line as a West Virginia University preferred football walk-on among friends, family, and coaches.

As a preferred walk-on, Billeter is guaranteed a spot on the 105-man roster from day one and receives all the benefits a scholarship athlete would receive minus the scholarship.

He can eat with the team, has access to all the tutors, and has a better chance to make the slimmed down 60-man roster at the beginning of the season next to a regular walk-on. If he qualifies for said roster, Billeter is eligible to travel to and dress for all away games.

The final-year Blue Devil could receive a scholarship his junior year with the team. It would be unusual for him to earn a scholarship before his next-to-last undergraduate year at the school because anything given out before then counts against the 25 initial scholarships available to an institution that season.

“I never really thought this would happen,” said the 2016-17 W.Va. Class A All-State first-team football defensive captain. “I worked hard in the offseason and tried as much as I could to get better.”

“We are excited he (Will) has the opportunity and gets the chance to go play,” said Will’s father Brad Billeter. “It has been a pretty long journey for all of us. We started pretty hard at it in third grade until now and I don’t think people have realized how much time he and other athletes have put in along the way and the youth sports and playing two sports all the time.

“We did a lot of running around.”

Though the younger Billeter stood out both on offense and defense, the Mountaineers are looking at the 6-foot-3 graduating senior at quarterback and one doesn’t have to look far to understand why.

The Blue Devil signal-caller led St. Marys to an undefeated season and the first state championship in school history last fall after a 23-8 win over East Hardy in Wheeling.

He remained calm and collected in the pocket and made several key throws as St. Marys faced off against four teams with a combined record of 45-1 in four postseason games.

“I kind of started sending emails to coaches,” the newly-minted Mountaineer replied when asked who contacted who first. “Coach Dorchester, WVU’s director of player personnel, then reached out to me and called me on the phone. I also talked to Jake Spavital, their new offensive coordinator, and he seems like a good guy.”

Fairmont State and Marietta were other schools interested in the senior’s services, but after WVU extended an offer there was little hope for the Falcons and Pioneers.

During his time in Morgantown, Billeter plans to study exercise physiology to get his foot in the door for physical therapy later on.

He is unsure of his end career goal after he earns his degrees at this point in time.

Balancing his studies and athletics next season should be no challenge for the soon-to-be St. Marys alum. Currently, the senior has a 4.04 grade point average with several college classes and advanced placement classes in the mix, while participating in track.

In addition to track and football seasons, he played basketball for head man Mark Barnhart over the winter as well.

The St. Marys product won’t be tossed to the wolves once he arrives on campus this summer. Billeter and 2015 Blue Devil graduate Zach Davis will room together this summer.