Owen Schmitt tugs at heartstrings in new WVU football video


Perhaps no outsider has ever embraced the state of West Virginia and WVU football better than former player Owen Schmitt.

Schmitt was an unheralded walk-on when he first came to Morgantown in 2005. He had a nice career at Wisconsin-River Falls, but wanted something more out of his time on the football field. He could have gone anywhere in the country, only because he sent out recruiting tapes of himself to nearly every school.

West Virginia and former head coach Rich Rodriguez just happened to take a chance on him. Lucky for Schmitt, Rodriguez and all of Mountaineer Nation, it paid off.

Schmitt quickly garnered a reputation for being the hardest-working player on the practice field. He rose up the depth chart and by 2007, he was part of the best backfield in all of college football alongside Steve Slaton and Pat White.

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Schmitt was a big part of the team’s success that year, one of the best campaigns in WVU football history. Even with national accolades pulling in each week, Schmitt remained one of the most humble guys in the program.

"“Honestly, my mind is kind of stuck back when I was the guy nobody noticed,” Schmitt said in a Washington Post story. “Some days, I’ll be talking on the phone with one of my old buddies, explaining all this, and it will just totally hit me. I mean, I can’t believe I’m even playing with these guys.”"

Owen Schmitt’s story is stuff of legends. We all know the Fiesta Bowl tale and teary-eyed speech on national television.

Now, Schmitt is sharing more than just his own story. He is sharing the story of all of us. Schmitt is a lifelong member of Mountaineer Nation even though he wasn’t born into it. Most of us around the state of West Virginia are born wearing blue and gold.

No matter how you became a fan of the WVU football team, Schmitt will speak to you in a new video released by the official WVU football Twitter account.

Morgantown is “where passion, pride and tradition meet,” Schmitt said in the video.

He couldn’t be more correct. When 60,000 fans pack Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown becomes Touchdown City as the largest town in the state of West Virginia.

Schmitt is now a loyal resident of Morgantown. A business owner, he opened Schmitt’s Saloon, back in 2013. It has become a gameday tradition, itself, for more WVU football fans.

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Speaking of gameday, we are almost there. Schmitt reminds us that the start of the 2017 college football season is less than a week away. Even though the Mountaineers take on Virginia Tech out in Washington, D.C., there is still a buzz in town.

Mountaineer Nation is patiently awaiting the sounds of pads hitting the opponent.

“The countdown to kickoff has begun,” Schmitt said in the video. “…carrying memories of legends who never stopped fighting. who carried the pride of an entire state on their shoulders. This is the mountaineer mentality. It’s in our blood, our sweat, our nature.”

It wouldn’t be surprising if Schmitt wrote these words himself. He is just the perfect person to be reading this creed of WVU football fans. We can all relate to what he says and no one more so than Schmitt has lived and breathed what he talks about.

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There may never be another player quite like Owen Schmitt. But the WVU football team will find out who its next legend will be when the Mountaineers take the field on Sept. 3.