Unexpected Connection Helps Lead Lanell Carr To WVU
Connections of many sorts can lead players to destinations that might not, at first blush, be an obvious choice. Family ties to those that are alums of a school can be a factor, as it was with recent Mountaineer basketball commitment Isaiah Cottrell, whose father, Brian Lewin, played for WVU. So too can connections with high school teammates who went on to a certain college. Even more nebulous connetions, such as having vacationed in a state near a particular school, or following a particular player while growing up, can have an effect.
For recent WVU football commit Lanell Carr, it was a coaching connection in the form of West Virginia’s new offensive recruiting coordinator, Scott Gasper.
“Indiana was a school that had offered me, and Coach Gasper was there at the time,” Carr explained. “So I knew him pretty well. When he went to West Virginia, we stayed in contact, and eventually WVU offered and I came out for a visit.”
Gasper, who also had in-state coaching stints at West Virginia Wesleyan (1999-2000) and Bethany (2003), was Indiana’s director of player personnel from 2015-18. He was hired at WVU in February of this year. (In another bit of WVU-centric themes, Gasper was the quarterbacks coach at East Mississippi Community College from 2013-14. When he left there to go to Indiana, his replacement was Travis Trickett.)
The tie to Gasper mostly explains how Carr, who hails from Missouri, will be coming to West Virginia. He will be just the third player from that state to play at WVU, according to the school’s statistical website.
“It might have taken a few people by surprise that I was visiting and then committed there,” said Carr. “But as soon as I got there it felt like home. It really was a family environment. When I got there I felt almost like a celebrity. You could feel that the entire state is watching and supporting you there. I just found out that Chase Behrndt is from Missouri, too. I didn’t get the chance to meet him on my trip.”
The good reviews of WVU extended to Carr’s parents, who accompanied him on his visit. Although they left the decision up to Lanell, he said they also found the campus and school to their liking.
While the tie to WVU might seem to be a thin one, it wasn’t as if the Mountaineers came out of the blue. Carr was aware of the Mountaineer program before he was recruited.
“I’ve watched them a lot, and grew up watching Geno Smith and Tavon Austin and those teams,” the defensive end/linebacker said.
With his decision behind him, and initially slotted at the bandit position in West Virginia’s defense, Carr has goals set for his senior season.
“Individually, I want to work on my speed more, and on my hips,” he detailed, noting that he wants to improve his already good flexibility. “I am quick and explosive, and I feel like the bandit position fits me great. On the field, I want to work on being a leader, and get us to the state championships.”