MORGANTOWN — West Virginia receiver Preston Fox made a few highlight-reel catches in opposition to Oklahoma State on Saturday.
The primary was a 19-yard seize on third down that arrange WVU’s first landing. Fox’s jersey was tugged on whereas he made an inside transfer on a defender and he primarily ended up making the catch whereas flat on his again.
The second was a 34-yard back-shoulder reception that arrange WVU’s final landing during which Fox, once more, ended up on his again.
“Normally I put myself into positions to make onerous catches,” Fox stated with a chuckle on Monday. “I’ve at all times had actually good fingers, so I take advantage of that. I’m type of fast, I’m not a quick man in any respect, however a bit of separation is all I would like and I can get the ball in my fingers.”
Though he has fewer than 20 profession receptions, Fox has grow to be recognized for his highlight-reel grabs.
“He’s at all times made phenomenal catches,” offensive coordinator Chad Scott stated. “That child has at all times produced and he deserves to be on the soccer discipline.”
A former walk-on and Morgantown native, Fox has carved out a key function for WVU this yr, having the ability to play any of the receiver positions whereas additionally returning punts and kickoffs.
After redshirting in 2020, Fox performed particular groups virtually solely in 2021 and 2022.
“As a walk-on, you actually should put your self into any place to get enjoying time,” Fox stated. “By way of punt returns, that helped me get on the sphere first. If you wish to get on the sphere, you play particular groups.”
Fox entered this season with solely 49 profession receiving yards. By way of seven video games in 2023, he already has 212 yards on simply 12 receptions.
“It’s been a tough journey, but it surely’s at all times going to be onerous as a walk-on,” Fox stated. “Being a task participant now’s big-time. A number of it was onerous work and now they will simply plug me in at any spot.”
Fox had restricted faculty choices after placing up almost 1,700 all-purpose yards and incomes first-team all-state honors as a senior at Morgantown Excessive in 2019. Finally, the chance to stroll on at WVU got here and Fox jumped on it.
“I used to be positively bummed that I didn’t have any provides, however quite a lot of gamers don’t get any probabilities like that and are neglected,” Fox stated. “However I obtained my probability and I took it.
“It was by no means actually a thought that I might (play at WVU) till my senior yr and I obtained that provide to be a most popular walk-on. Rising up, I’ve at all times wished to return right here; that is my house.”
Whereas Fox had to spend so much of time within the weight room, he stated it didn’t take lengthy for him to understand that he might play on the Energy 5 stage.
“I needed to positively get sturdy and get larger,” he stated. “That was type of onerous for me, however all through the entire time I used to be rising right here, I made quite a lot of performs in follow and that confirmed that I can play at this stage.”
Whereas Fox lacks the bodily items that may make him an apparent Division I expertise, it’s his work ethic that makes up the distinction.
“He exhibits the entire offense that you simply don’t essentially should be particular. You possibly can simply be particular within the little issues,” Scott stated. “Be magical within the little issues and the nice issues all of us need to occur, will occur. He does the littlest issues proper and places himself able to make performs and when his quantity’s known as, he makes performs.”
Following the 2022 Gold-Blue Spring Sport, Fox was shocked with the scholarship that had been so elusive a couple of years prior.
“That was most likely among the best emotions on the planet,” Fox stated. “Seeing my household stroll in, I simply knew that was the second. I virtually had tears come out of my eyes; that was one of the best feeling ever.”
That very same day, Fox’s longtime teammate and fellow MHS graduate Nick Malone received an award as WVU’s high walk-on. Malone was later placed on scholarship and made his first profession begin alongside the offensive line two weeks in the past.
“Me and Nick have positively at all times had the identical goals,” Fox stated, “and we each made it occur.”