By Chris Slone
February 27, 2014
It’s not everyday a high school athlete receives the opportunity to take his talents to college. When that opportunity arose for a local Portsmouth standout, his choice became easy.
With that choice, Gavin Applegate chose to sign with West Virginia State University.
“It’s close to home,” Applegate said. “It’s Division II and I like the campus. It felt like it was meant to be.”
Applegate played offensive guard and tackle for the Trojans but has been recruited to play center. Applegate believes is intelligence is a major strength.
Portsmouth coach Jason Sparks agrees with Applegate’s assessment.
“They (WVSU) are getting a reliable player and a smart football player,” Sparks said.
Not just football intelligence but overall awareness to do the right thing compels Sparks as he has no concerns about Applegate’s ability to adjust to college life.
“He is going to do right all the time,” Sparks said. “He is not going to associated himself with people who are not helping him achieve his goals. It’s not a selfish aspect. When he gets to college, he is going to have a goal, and he is going to buy in to the team’s goals and what they are trying to accomplish.
“He’s not going to spend his time associated with people that aren’t going to help him or his team achieve their goals.”
Applegate has an immediate goal in mind for his first season.
“I feel like I can impact the team with in a positive way,” Applegate said.
Sparks appreciated Applegate’s leadership skills.
“He’s an emotional leader,” Sparks said. “He gets fired up.”
Applegate knows his biggest adjustment to college will be the speed of the game.
“I think the game speed is going to be completely different than I am use to seeing around here,” Applegate said. “Everyone is faster and stronger, I’m going to have to adjust.”
It might take Applegate a while to acclimate himself to the next level but he has a community that believes in him.
Chris Slone can be reached at 353-3101, ext 298, or on Twitter @crslone.