It was not so long ago when Trevon Wesco was a man without a home in the sports he loved.
Wesco was a standout in football and basketball at Musselman High in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle. He finished his prep career as the Applemen’s all-time leading scorer on the basketball court while also turning in a record-breaking career as a receiver and quarterback on the gridiron.
At the time, it seemed like Wesco could have his pick of sport and school when it came to college options, but an injury during his senior season of football and a not-so-great academic record in high school put all of that on hold.
He tore the meniscus in one of his knees but was back in time for basketball season. By that time, however, it had become clear that many colleges would have a tough time getting Wesco academically qualified.
He opted to stick with football over basketball and go the junior college route. It was a choice that started him on the unlikely path to this weekend, when Wesco hopes to hear his name called at the NFL draft, which begins Thursday and runs through Saturday evening.
Wesco, who stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs in at 269 pounds, transformed into a tight end during his brief tenure at Pennsylvania’s Lackawanna College before returning to his home state to join the football program at West Virginia.
Since coming to Morgantown prior to the 2015 season, Wesco has gone from a novice at the position to a likely NFL draft pick. It is a long way from lighting up gyms as an All-State forward at Musselman, but Wesco has a good sense of humor about his decision to stick to football — as he does with most things.
“You dream of the NBA until you find out you’ve got to be 6-7,” Wesco said. “I mean, I was my school’s all-time leading scorer. I was a good hooper, but I didn’t turn out 6-7 or it would be the other way around.”
Wesco flew under the radar for his first couple of seasons at WVU. Tight ends were not always a big part of the plans of former Mountaineer coach Dana Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital. Yet something clicked during 2018 that allowed Wesco to stand out and put himself on the radar for the next level. Holgorsen and Spavital came to the realization that when the ball finds Wesco’s hands, good things tend to happen.
Over a period of weeks, Wesco emerged as a favorite target for West Virginia quarterback Will Grier. Week after week, it seemed like Wesco was coming up with a vital catch at least once per game. He finished the season with 26 catches for 366 yards and just one touchdown, but at the same time was one of the Big 12’s best blocking tight ends. Not often, but on occasion, the Mountaineers would line Wesco up in the backfield. By the end of the 2018 season, Wesco had gone from almost being an afterthought in his own offense to an All-Big 12 first-team pick and a legitimate professional prospect.
“I wasn’t really worried about that,” Wesco said. “I’ve always visualized playing in the NFL since I was like 8 years old. It’s nothing new to me. This is what I want to do, this is what I’ve been doing since I was 8 years old. It’s something I’ve always looked forward to doing. Now I’m here and it’s kind of crazy, but I really haven’t let it catch up to me yet. It really hasn’t hit me yet, but I guess it will on draft day.”
That day is rapidly approaching for Wesco, who said he plans to watch the draft from his home in Martinsburg. Wesco began his postseason training regimen for that day almost as soon as the Mountaineers’ season ended with a loss to Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl.
Wesco’s first stop was California for workouts. He snagged invitations to the Senior Bowl and the NFL combine, so there was work to be done on those fronts.
The Senior Bowl trip allowed Wesco to show his array of abilities as a pass catcher and a blocker. Coaches there had him lining up as a fullback, but Wesco said that was no big deal. Just another item on the list of things he brings to the table.
“[At the Senior Bowl] they had me playing a lot of fullback, but straight out of the ‘I’ [formation] — a lot of lead blocking,” Wesco said. “It wasn’t really nothing new for me because I played a lot of fullback at West Virginia, so it’s no different. I’m a versatile player. I’m a 2-in-1 player — I can play tight end and fullback. Whatever they ask me to do, I’ve done.”
The NFL combine is a different beast than the postseason All-Star-type games. At those games, there are still some elements of “real” football. The combine is a football workout and interview session. Wesco handled his business at the event in Indianapolis, with perhaps the only blemish on his performance being a 4.89-second time in the 40-yard dash.
Wesco, again true to form, had a realistic outlook on the time.
“My goal was just not to run five-flat and be the slowest person there,” Wesco said. “I knew I wasn’t going to the combine to break any records. I just wanted to run something decent.”Along with the performances at the Senior Bowl and NFL combine came some love from different corners of the internet and media worlds. Perhaps nobody has been a bigger cheerleader for Wesco than the NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger, who has been very complimentary of the West Virginia tight end on both social media and during broadcasts on the network.
“[Wesco] is more than just a tight end,” Baldinger said of Wesco during a recent NFL Network broadcast. “He’s an H-back, he’s a fullback, you can flex him. He’s good after the catch.
“If I’m a coach, I want this guy in the draft because your whole playbook is going to open.”
In the heat of the moment, Wesco said he didn’t realize how good his tape was. Now that he has seen it, however, he thinks the video evidence speaks for itself.
“I really didn’t know how crazy my tape was until I started watching it as this process went on,” Wesco said. “I was like, ‘Oh snap, I was really out there smashing people.’ ”
Now, all Wesco can do is wait.
By this time next week he will likely be on an NFL roster and begin his professional career. He’s had a small taste of that life since the end of the 2018 season — something Wesco called a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“You wake up worrying about football,” Wesco said. “You don’t have to wake up and worry about going to class. It’s a lot different, but I’ve enjoyed the whole process. It’s been a long process, but I’m just enjoying it because you only get to do it one time, so you might as well do it the right way.”