Former West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Dillon Spalding is now heading to James Madison to continue his football career. The 6-foot-1, 217-pound redshirt freshman’s decision to play for the Dukes is most likely based on location. However, JMU is a perennial powerhouse in FCS football, so that was also a good selling point. Spalding announced last week that he was entering the transfer portal and it didn’t take long for him to find a new home at James Madison. It appeared that Spalding was somewhat buried on the receiver depth chart at WVU, so this all makes sense for him.
The Dukes had a solid 2018 campaign, finishing 9-4 and second in the CAA conference. They received an at-large bid to the FCS Football Playoffs where they lost to Colgate in the second round. Before that, they were in the FCS Championship game for two straight years, winning the championship in 2016. Hopes are high for the 2019 FCS Football season as the JMU brings some big weapons on offense. Senior QB Ben DiNucci will be under center again and the Dukes return their three leading receivers from last season. The Dukes receiving unit has a good balance of size and speed with Jake Brown and Kyndel Dean bringing the speed, and Riley Stapleton bringing the size. Spalding is right between those guys and should find a role easily with this offense in due time. He adds depth from the beginning, but he has the ability to turn into an extremely dangerous receiver with experience and the right coaching.
Stapleton is the leader amongst the receivers and is heading into his final college football season. The Redshirt senior led the team last year with 62 catches for 710 yards and seven touchdowns. He’s a huge target that can bully defenders and usually overpowers them. While Spalding is not quite as big as Stapleton, he can be a nice complement to him. I wouldn’t expect to see Spalding getting a lot of playing time this season, but he will be a huge impact for the Dukes for the next several seasons. When it’s his time to shine, expect him to shine very brightly.
Even though Spalding has yet to make a catch in a college football game, he brings a lot to the table for the Dukes. He has excellent hands and is a terrific route runner. His vertical ability will come in handy on goal-line situations and gives the Dukes another weapon on offense. Before signing with WVU, Spalding received offers from other larger schools like Virginia Tech, Tennessee, N.C. State, and Michigan. This three-star recruit is a huge pickup for James Madison. If Spalding proves himself worthy enough to play early this upcoming season, he’ll do so on a familiar field as James Madison will head to Morgantown to face the Mountaineers on Aug. 31.