West Virginia sophomore Rodney Gallagher developing as both receiver and athlete

WVU wide receiver Rodney Gallagher.
WVU wide receiver Rodney Gallagher. / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

Sometimes, it cannot be understated how important a proper Division 1 strength and conditioning program can be for a young college athlete.

This spring, West Virginia wide receiver Rodney Gallagher is learning that first-hand. 

Gallagher is an impressive enough football player without much work -- he garnered enough attention from the coaching staff at WVU as a true freshman for them to begin manufacturing touches for him as the season wore on in 2023. Gallagher would haul in 10 receptions for 74 yards and handle 15 carries for 87 yards in limited action last year.

But now, Gallagher is taking steps this off-season to truly develop into the type of athlete that can be a consistent game changer for the Mountaineers.

“Both of them put on ten pounds of muscle, which is significant for both of them,” WVU wide receivers coach Bilal Marshall said of Gallagher and fellow wideout Traylon Rayon on Monday.

“They’re going to continue to grow, but their strength training is not only just size, but speed too. Being able to get faster, stronger, and they feel more confident with their bodies.”

According to Marshall, those leaps in strength and speed have already made a big difference in Gallagher’s ability to make plays on the field.

“They’re able to play more confident, they’re able to play strong, they’re able to play faster, because they just feel better,” Marshall said.

Gallagher’s not just becoming a better athlete, though. Marshall said that he’s been pleased with the young athlete’s development as a receiver, which wasn’t his chosen position in high school.

‘I think he’s getting there. He’s still not where I’d like him as a route runner -- he’s still working through it,” Marshall said.

“The thing is he covers up a lot of his mistakes through effort. He plays hard, and he’s not scared. I think this summer it’ll probably be really starting to click for him as a wide receiver.”

But above his development as both an athlete and wide receiver, one thing stands out to Marshall regarding Gallagher’s ability on the gridiron

“The kid is a ball player,” Marshall said. “ He’s going to make plays. The best thing he does is when he gets that ball in his hands, and watch him go to work.”