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Loyola safety Terence Garvin is headed to West Virginia.

Garvin committed to the Mountaineers last week, picking W.Va. over an offer from Maryland. He also had interest from Boston College, Connecticut, North Carolina State, Syracuse and Virginia.

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Garvin and his parents visited the West Virginia campus last month. A brief detour helped the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder get acquainted with the small-town, neighborly feel of Morgantown, W.Va.

"I guess we turned down the wrong street," Garvin said. "We asked this guy how to get [to campus]. He went out of his way and we followed him for probably like 5-10 minutes. He went out of his way and drove us down there ... It seems like the school, all the people -- everywhere we went there was this West Virginia pride. They don't have a pro team there, so everything is the school. That's what they love down there. They're deep into their program. But it's real nice down there."

Once the family finally arrived on campus, Garvin was impressed with what he saw.

Garvin talks Mountaineers

"When I went down there, I really liked all the coaches," Garvin said. "I really liked [defensive coordinator Jeff] Casteel. He seems really intense and that's a good thing to have. I really like the campus and how it's all set up. All the people are really supportive of the football team and that's what I was looking for. The academics are real good, too. They have a plan where you can get your masters in five years. Everything seemed right with West Virginia."

Casteel has Garvin -- who is considering a major in sports management -- slated for the rover position in his 3-3-5 defense. Garvin described rover as "a safety that blitzes."

When Garvin suits up for the Mountaineers, he'll get the chance to square off against a familiar face once a year. Loyola quarterback Leon Kinnard committed to Connecticut in March. With Garvin in Morgantown, W.Va., and Kinnard in Storrs, Conn., the longtime friends will go from Dons teammates to Big East rivals.

"We already talked about that a lot," Garvin said. "He was excited. He said they were going to beat us. ... I was telling him I'm going to try to sack him a couple times or pick him off. But it won't be too strange. It'll be something new for both of us -- going against each other for the first time.

"It's real cool [that we'll play against each other]. A lot of people know us around here and now they know we're going to Big East schools, so hopefully people watch. But from the jump, our goal was to go to big Division I schools. That was our goal from freshman year, and I guess we accomplished it right now. But now we're trying to play at those schools, so we've been working hard in the weight room."

Garvin said it's finally setting in that he's committed to program that has finished in the top 10 the past three seasons, going 33-5 with two BCS bowl wins. He said he's excited to be a part of that success.

"Yeah that kind of hit me the other day," Garvin said. "There was this show [on ESPN], College Football Live, [that was talking about West Virginia]. And I was like, 'I'm actually going there.' It kind of hit me like that. I've never really been on a losing team before, so hopefully I'll still be on a winning team. It should make college even more fun."

Sun photo of Terence Garvin by Lloyd Fox

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