We’ve already talked about Tajh Boyd and Logan Hestie, two prized recruits that claimed to be the future of West Virginia football. We, of course, know that Boyd ended up signing elsewhere and Hestie never played a meaningful down of college football. Today, we’re talking about another highly-touted recruit whose career came crashing down around him after just six games as a Mountaineer.
Jason Gwaltney rewrote nearly every Long Island high school football record in his time at North Babylon High School. He shattered the previous record for career touchdowns (135), yards rushing (7,800), carries (948), and points (828). He averaged over 200 rushing yards per game, and 8.2 yards per carry. Gwaltney was the fifth best running back in the 2005 recruiting class, according to 247Sports, and mesmerized the country’s top college football programs.
Gwaltney signed with the Mountaineers in 2005, choosing in Rich Rodriguez’s explosive offense at West Virginia over offers from the Ohio State Buckeyes, USC Trojans and Michigan State Spartans. Jason made a bold proclamation before ever playing a down of college football - he planned on starting right away and rushing for 1,500 yards as a true Freshman. That didn’t quite pan out.
Jason played in the first six games of the 2005 football season, rushing for just 186 yards and three touchdowns, before being sidelined by academic problems and a knee injury. He left campus not long afterward.
Gwaltney enrolled at Nassau Community College in 2006, but lasted one Spring practice session before never returning.
Jason reemerged in Morgantown in the Spring of 2007, and was given a second chance by Rodriguez. He never reported to practice, and in June of that year was arrested for underage consumption of alcohol, speeding and failure to produce a driver’s license.
Gwaltney resurfaced at C.W. Post on Long Island in 2008 but, true to form, was suspended practice issues and unspecified violations after leading the team with 709 yards in six games. He left the team in 2009. The following month he enrolled at Division III Kean University, and set a school record for rushing yards in a season in 2010. Gwaltney attempted to get himself noticed by NFL scouts in hopes to get picked in the 2011 draft. He went undrafted.
Gwaltney was arrested again in 2013 for his role in home invasion and burglary in New York.