Rawlins to get early start at WVU
By Jeff Oliver
Published: Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
It's no secret that ever since Monessen's Chavas Rawlins committed early to play football at West Virginia University that he was excited about the prospects that lie ahead for him the next four years.
So excited is Rawlins, he will leave Monessen early and head to Morgantown to get an early start on the Mountaineers' incoming freshmen.
Rawlins, a two-time all-conference quarterback for the Greyhounds, will begin taking classes as a full-time student at WVU on Jan. 16, provided he has achieved all the necessary requirements to earn his diploma at Monessen.
“I'm very excited to get down there and start working on my college career, to start working in the classroom, working out, learn the system and participate in spring football,” Rawlins said. “It's a big thing for me, a huge opportunity.”
However, by leaving Monessen early, Rawlins won't be playing basketball for the Greyhounds his senior year.
“I have no regrets (about not playing basketball),” Rawlins said. “It's not like I quit in the middle of the seasons. The coaches and team know from the start that I won't be there, so they can start from scratch. I'll come home to see some games, for sure.
“I love playing basketball, but I realized I have an opportunity in front of me that could affect the rest of my life and I have to take advantage of it.”
To be eligible to graduate in January, Rawlins has to complete three requirements: He must have enough academic credits, complete his senior research paper and participate in the mandatory senior exit interview.
Monessen Principal Brian Sutherland said that he has been working with Rawlins and has set up a program for the standout student-athlete that will enable him to achieve those goals. He added that Rawlins, because of the rarity of his situation, had to receive permission from the Monessen School Board to amp up the process for earning his final credits and getting other requirements fulfilled.
“The board approved the move (Tuesday night),” Sutherland said. “Everything is in place and I have confidence that Chavas will get everything done. He will graduate in mid-January and has enrolled in the spring semester at WVU.
“This is a good thing for Chavas and a good thing for our school.”
Rawlins said several months ago when he first discussed leaving early with Greyhound football coach Andy Pacak, he wasn't sure if the opportunity would become a reality.
“I didn't know if I would have the chance,” he said. “But as it got closer, I knew it was what I really wanted to do and I could do it. There are just too many benefits to me going (to WVU) early.”
Monessen basketball coach Joe Salvino said he has mixed emotions about Rawlins' planned early exit.
“I wish him well. I want nothing but the best for Chavas,” Salvino said. “But, in my opinion, I think he is making a mistake and it has nothing to do with basketball.”
Salvino said earlier he was told that WVU coach Dana Holgorsen has never been to Rawlins' home.
“I don't know if he has ever met with the head coach at his house,” Salvino said. “He is getting all his information from a recruiter and that isn't always the best thing. Sometimes kids get star struck and when he gets to the university it may not be what he expected or was told it would be like.
“Really, I hope everything works out for him. I wish him nothing but the best. He's a great kid.”
Rawlins said he has talked with Holgorsen on several occasions and has been to WVU for a handful of football games this season as part of the recruiting process.
Rawlins said that he wants to return to Monessen in June to participate in graduation ceremonies with his class.
“I'm graduating early, but I still want to walk with my classmates,” he said of commencement exercises.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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