By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
RICHLANDS, Va. —
When Greg Mance first saw Todd McGlothlin, the Richlands football coach saw potential oozing out of him.
Yet, McGlothlin was raw, having had little to do with football while attending a Christian school in Richlands.
“When he first came out he was just so far behind,” Mance said. “I don’t even know if he watched football on TV, he just really didn’t understand linebackers, corners, leverage, techniques … .”
He does now, so much so that McGlothlin — an all-state performer at wide receiver and defensive end at Richlands over the last two seasons — signed a letter of intent during a ceremony on Tuesday to play football at Glenville State.
“I am just excited to continue my education and get a chance to play football for four more years,” McGlothlin said. “It is pretty exciting.”
Not bad for the 6-foot-5, 215-pound senior, who was a sophomore when his father, Kevin, decided to place his son in public school and asked Mance to give him a chance.
“It was a hard decision three years ago, he was brought up in a real strict Christian family and Todd had been in a Christian school all of his life, it was a big move for me to let him come,” Kevin McGlothlin said. “It was one of the best moves I have ever made in my life … .”
Mance was immediately intrigued, adding that a slightly smaller McGlothlin ran a 4.7 40-yard dash the first time he saw him run.
“His dad was really excited about being part of our program and Todd was really wanting to be a part of it,” Mance said. “We put him on JV and he had a really good year just letting him rush off defensive end.
“It took us a while to teach him the pass concepts and the routes and where to run, but you couldn’t ask for a better, more hard-nosed dedicated young man than when he came in.
“He is here every day. You just have to get on him for hitting in practice. We tell him, ‘Todd, we need him Friday night.’ He is just one of those kids we are blessed to have in our program.”
McGlothlin feels just as blessed to have played at Richlands, and he left his mark.
“It is crazy, Richlands football is amazing,” McGlothlin said. “You have got people that come in, we have got (Graham transfer) Gray Baker and he says there is nothing like Richlands football and the brotherhood that we have. It is a real special for me to be able to have been a part of it.”
Mance wasn’t surprised by McGlothlin’s success, and can reel off his many alcolades over the last two seasons, including first team All-Group A honors in two positions, along with Region IV and Southwest District honors, including SWD defensive player of the year last season.
“We knew once he figured out what to do and where to line up and techniques that he was going to be special because you just don’t find kids like Todd McGlothlin,” Mance said. “He is a 6-5, 215 pounds, runs a 4-6 40, has a 35-inch vertical leap, and he is aggressive.
“That is what we like about him. He is that old throwback, he is mean, he is aggressive, he loves to hit and just a great football player for us.”
Defensively, McGlothlin recorded a school record 16 sacks last season, while also contributing 80 tackles and 24 stops for loss. He had 14 sacks (and 57 tackles) as a junior, with those 30 sacks ranking among the top three ever at Richlands.
Offensively, McGlothlin caught 58 passes for 914 yards and 11 touchdowns in two seasons. His 504 receiving yards in 2011 is the sixth most in school history.
All that came at one of the area’s top high school football programs, with a mantra that McGlothlin will take with him to the next level.
“Just hard work,” he said. “We worked hard all summer. There is a big thing about hard work and commitment and work ethic and that is what I will be taking to Glenville.
“I am going to miss Richlands. If I could stay here and play another three or four years I probably would, but I am excited to go to college and grow up.”
He chose Glenville State, which finished 6-5 last season, tied for second in the final year of the West Virginia Conference. The Pioneers, who won the league in 2008, will join the Mountain East Conference for the 2013-14 school year.
Glenville State is in the midst of a football expansion, building a $3.5 million complex, while adding artificial turf and additional seating to its stadium.
“I like how they ran things, I liked their coaches and the team, and how they are up there, I just liked it.” said McGlothlin, who had interests from other schools, including the University of Maryland.
“I went up to Glenville and just fell in love with it, I liked the coaches and the players and how they treated me, I like it.”
Where McGlothlin will line up on the field remains to be seen, but he just wants to play more football. After all, he has a lot of catching up to do.
“I think we have to work it out when I get up there, they are recruiting me as a tight end and defensive end so we will just have to wait and see,” he said. “I want to play defense, but I will just do whatever is best for the team and what is best for me.”
McGlothlin is the first of what Mance thinks could be five or six Richlands seniors who will get a chance to play at the next level. He think McGlothlin’s best days on the gridiron could still be ahead of him.
“He will be a special player up there, he is just too talented and too big and too athletic and he works hard,” Mance said. “That is one attribute that the kid has, he has a tremendous work ethic so there is no doubt he is going to be a success on the football field.”
Most every high school football player aspires to play at the next level, and McGlothlin was no different, even if his route to being a member of the Blue Tornado football program wasn’t like most.
“I imagined it, I dreamed about it, but I didn’t know if I could do it,” McGlothlin said. “I didn’t know anything about football when I first got here. It has been a big step and I am excited. It is a dream of mine.”
— Contact Brian Woodson at