Continuing on with our 100 day countdown to WVU’s season opener against the Alabama Crimson Tide, we have reached day 67, the number once worn by WVU center, Eric de Groh
de Groh, a native of Huron, OH, was a 4 year starting center for the Mountaineers from 1995 to 1998. de Groh was a part of a group that made three straight bowl appearances (1996-1998), and had high expectations going into each of those seasons.
The freshman season for de Groh was disappointing for all involved as the squad finished with a record of 5-6. The losses were headlined by back to back shut out defeats at the hands of Virginia Tech and Syracuse, which took the team out of contention for a third straight bowl bid.
1996 was a different story as the team started out the campaign with 7 straight wins to put the program in contention for a possible late season run at a National Championship game berth. These hopes were dashed with 3 losses in the final 4 games of the season forcing the team to finish the regular season 8-3, and settle for a bid to the Gator Bowl.
1997 started off again with a great deal of promise, only for the program to under achieve at the bitter end. Two straight losses against Notre Dame and Pitt again denied the Gold and Blue a Big East championship, and a nine win season. The team finished 7-5 following a loss in the Carquest Bowl to Georgia Tech, and failed to finish in the final top 25 standings.
In de Groh’s senior year, the Mountaineers finished the regular season 8-3, and earned a third straight bowl berth, this time to the Insight.com Bowl. Highlights of the 1998 campaign included an upset victory in Morgantown against Donovan McNabb and the #15 ranked Syracuse Orange, and a 52-14 drubbing of the Pitt Panthers in the regular season finale.
Throughout the course of de Groh’s college career, the center earned numerous honors for both his on field efforts, and his academic excellence. In 1995, de Groh was selected to the College Football Association’s “Good Works” team in recognition to his community service efforts. In both 1996 and 1997, he was named a second-team, CoSIDA Academic All-American.
In 1998, de Groh was named a first-team, CoSIDA Academic All-American, while also earning the Anson Mount Scholar-Athlete award, given annually to the top scholar athlete amongst NCAA Division 1 FBS players.
He was awarded the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame scholar athlete award, as well as being selected the Big East all-conference team. He also earned a third-team, All-American selection by the AP this same year.
Upon graduation from WVU, de Groh signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent. He spent one season with the organization before being released the following spring.
de Groh has since earned his doctorate Ph.D in philosophy, with a focus on molecular biology. He currently works as a post-doctoral researcher for the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He has served in this role since 2011.
All countdown profiles of numbers 100-68 are still available here at wvupros.com.