WVU Football Recruiting Targets Narrow
As the start of the three-day early National Letter of Intent signing period on Dec. 18 is fast approaching for college football programs across the country, West Virginia is trying to lock down at least four or five more prospects to add to the 15 already committed.
As the witching hour nears, Neal Brown and his staff are trying to make some inroads with a couple of fast-rising recruits.
Sam Brown (WR, 6-3, 185 lbs., New Hampstead H.S./Savannah, Ga.) had a nice offer list in the summer including schools like Wake Forest and Central Florida. He committed to UCF in mid-September, but then put together a senior season that ultimately earned him the Class 5A Region 2 Player of the Year award, and suddenly some of the major powers came calling. Brown decided to re-open his recruitment.
“First off I want to thank God for putting me in the place I am in today,” Brown said via Twitter. “Secondly, I want to thank my family for doing a great job with me and this process, but we think it’s best I re-open my recruitment and de-commit from UCF. Thank you Knight Nation.”
WVU got an official visit from Brown last weekend, and Maryland, Michigan and Kentucky were some of the others who extended scholarship offers. Then within the past 48 hours, the scholarship offer rate picked up even more, as Georgia, Florida and Ole Miss also extended full rides. Mississippi’s new head coach, Lane Kiffin, recently hired former UCF offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby to the same position in Oxford, thus providing Brown a connection from the Knights to the Rebels.
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Having lost running back Lamy Constant to a decommitment last week, West Virginia is again out searching for a running back for this class.
A’Varius Sparrow (RB, 5-9, 190 lbs., Jones H.S./Orlando, Fla.) is a back who has apparently piqued the Mountaineers’ interest. A former high school wrestler who played linebacker in his only previous season of football, Sparrow moved to running back and exploded his senior season, rushing for 2,024 yards and 24 touchdowns on 217 carries. A few FCS programs had offered him previously, but now West Virginia is leading an offer charge that also reportedly includes UCF and Rutgers.
As the clock winds down towards Wednesday’s signing day, the Mountaineers also are trying wrap up a number of other prospects.
Here are some of the recruits to watch as the LOI period draws near:
• Tairiq Stewart (OL, 6-6, 330 lbs., Warrensville, Ohio/Asa (NY) College) The juco lineman is scheduled for an official visit to WVU this weekend. He also reports offers from Toledo, UAB, Boise State, Maryland, Western Kentucky and Tennessee.
• Jordan White (OL, 6-3, 310 lbs., DeMatha Catholic H.S./Hyattsville, Md.) A one-time Maryland commit, White decided last month to reopen his recruitment. WVU, Georgia Tech, LSU, Syracuse and Wisconsin are now all involved. He’s slated to take an official visit to West Virginia this weekend.
• Wes Bailey (DL, 6-5, 230 lbs., Clearwater (FL) Academy/Ontario, Canada) The Canadian’s move to a Florida prep school earned him plenty of interest from U.S. colleges, including West Virginia, where he visited last week, and also Illinois, Kansas State, Minnesota and Virginia Tech.
• Akheem Mesidor (DL, 6-3, 255 lbs., Clearwater (FL) Academy/Ontario, Canada) Like Bailey, Mesidor is a Canadian expat now at Clearwater Academy. He lists WVU, UCLA, Pitt, Syracuse and Georgia Tech as his final five.
• Eddie Watkins (DL, 6-4, 225 lbs., Hillcrest H.S./Evergreen, AL) A former Georgia Tech commit, several other schools have shown interest since he re-opened his recruitment. WVU, Purdue, UCF and Kentucky seemingly are at the top of this list. He visited West Virginia last weekend.
• Lakevias Daniel (DB, 6-1, 177 lbs., Jones County (Miss.) J.C./Louisville, Mississippi) The juco corner had originally committed to Ole Miss, but decommitted when the Rebels fired Matt Luke. He visited WVU last week and also has interest from Illinois and Louisville, but since Mississippi hired Lane Kiffin earlier this week, the Rebels are apparently making another strong push.