Sabelhaus commits to W. Va., hopes to be eligible for fall Ex-McDonogh QB needs JuCo degree by summer


Bobby Sabelhaus might play at Byrd Stadium this year after all, but it would be for West Virginia, not Maryland.

A Parade All-America quarterback during his record-setting days McDonogh School, Sabelhaus committed to the Mountaineers yesterday. He had been without a team since last August, when he withdrew from Florida.

Sabelhaus is in his second semester at Los Angeles Pierce College. If he can earn an associate degree from that junior college by this summer, he would be eligible to play for the Mountaineers next season. Sabelhaus would be a redshirt sophomore, and be eligible through the 1999 season.

Sabelhaus could not be reached to comment. His father said that he is taking 20 credits this semester, and that he intends to be in Morgantown this summer to compete for the Mountaineers' starting position in August.

"It came down to Alabama and West Virginia, and Bobby decided that West Virginia provided the better opportunity," Robert Sabelhaus said. "He liked all the coaches, and the depth chart there is wide-open."

West Virginia graduated Chad Johnston, and the only scholarship quarterbacks left are a pair of freshmen who played little last season. Coach Don Nehlen signed three high school quarterbacks earlier this month.

Robert Sabelhaus said that Illinois, Rutgers and Temple also were interested in his son. Two Maryland regimes, former coach Mark Duffner's and new coach Ron Vanderlinden's, never returned the strong interest that Sabelhaus showed in the Terps. West Virginia plays Maryland on Oct. 11 at Byrd Stadium.

Nehlen has had great success with transfer quarterbacks, as Jeff Hostetler left Penn State and Jake Kelchner Notre Dame before they starred for the Mountaineers. Kelchner led West Virginia to an unbeaten regular season in 1993.

Sabelhaus concluded a stellar career at McDonogh in 1994, when he was regarded as one of the nation's premier quarterback prospects. At Florida, he was considered the heir apparent to Danny Wuerffel, but he struggled in his first spring practice with the Gators, and coach Steve Spurrier gave him his release last August.

Pub Date: 2/18/97

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