Welcome to our weekly wrapup of everything happening with West Virginia recruiting. In this edition, we discuss the Mountaineers’ newest commits in the Class of 2018.
After adding defensive backs in the last two weeks, the Mountaineers had their busiest week with three new additions topped by their second-rated recruit in the 2018 class.
The Mountaineers picked up pledges from two 3-star recruits. Additions included mammoth guard Blaine Scott of Sciotoville High School in Portsmouth, Ohio and defensive end T.J. Banks of North Versailles (Pa.) East Allegheny High School.
Scott provides a boost at a position area where the Mountaineers had garnered only commitment before his decision was announced by Twitter on Thursday.
— Blaine Scott (@blaine_scott54) October 19, 2017
After originally committing to Ole Miss, Scott decommited on July 30 after Hugh Freeze was fired. Other schools interested in the 6-foot-4, 310-pound prospect included Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Miami and Arkansas.
With a 247 Sports composite ranking of .8822, Scott is the second-highest rated recruit in this year’s class for the Mountaineers. He is topped only by homestate standout defensive end Dante Stills.
Scott was drawn to West Virginia by a coaching staff that made him want to play with the Mountaineers.
“I love (West Virginia offensive line) Coach (Joe) Wickline’s methods of teaching o-line,” Scott told 247 Sports reporter Steve Wilfong. “They are on the right path to compete for a Big 12 title and to play in big bowl games, too.
“The sky’s the limit for WVU.”
If he lives up to his potential, he could provide an element of toughness needed for a Power 5 school with his knack for playing to the whistle.
Scott holds a three-star, 0.8822-rating in the 247Sports Composite as the nation’s No. 17 offensive guard.
Earlier, the Mountaineers convinced 3-star athlete and defensive end Banks to join the Mountaineers. Despite playing defensive end and receiver in high school, the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Banks is projected as a tight end at college.
He picked the Mountaineers over finalists Temple and Illinois.
“The type of the field where they want him to attack, he’s so good at using it,” East Allegheny coach Dom Pecora told 247 Sports.com’s Brian Dohn. “He can do it on the digs, the sit-down routes, on the ball routes …he’s just a special player.”
To keep competing for Big 12 titles, the Mountaineers need to upgrade recruiting. The two big additions of this week should be able to help out in the future if they develop as expected.
Where West Virginia’s class ranks
The additions this week boosted West Virginia to 33rd nationally on the 247Sports composite. It ranks seventh among Big 12 programs.
The addition of Banks did have an effect on West Virginia’s class with a plethora of tight end prospects arriving leading to the decommitment of Chicago Marist tight end TJ Ivy earlier this week.
Chris Anderson of the Charleston Gazette reports that Ivy saw the growing crowd at the position. Ivy had committed during the summer, but a week later the Mountaineers secured a pledge from transfer Miami tight Jovani Haskins. The addition of Banks and wide receiver/tight end hybrid Mike O’Laughlin made the position seem more crowded.
Ivy, the nation’s No. 60 player at the position according to the 247Sports Composite, had earlier considered Big Ten schools Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Purdue and Rutgers along with Syracuse and Big 12 rival Iowa State.
According to several reports, Ivy is unsure which way he was leaning after his decommitment.
West Virginia also lost another commitment when speedy wide receiver Ralph Davis of Houston North Shore and the Mountaineers mutually agreed to part ways earlier this month.
Offers, by the numbers
Reported offers: 275
5-star offers: 8
4-star offers: 84
In-state recruits offered: 2
Texas recruits offered: 20
Georgia recruits offered: 54
Florida recruits offered: 49
Ohio recruits offered: 23
Pennsylvania recruits offered: 23
DE Dante Stills, 4 stars, Fairmont, W.Va.
G Blaine Scott, 3 stars, Portsmouth, Ohio (Sciotoville)
ATH Leddie Brown, 3 stars, Neumann Goretti (Philadelphia)
ATH TJ Banks, 3 stars, North Versailles, Pa. (East Allegheny)
T Oyenmwen Uzebu, 3 stars, Alpharetta, Ga.
CB Joshua Norwood, 3 stars, Northwest Mississippi CC (Valdosta, Ga.)
TE Mike O’Laughlin, 3 stars, Fenwick (Oak Park, Ill.)
QB Woodrow Lowe III, 3 stars, Central (Bolivar, Tenn.)
DE Alex Williams, 3 stars, North (Pickerington, Ohio)
WR Sam James, 3 stars, Richmond Hill, Ga.
WR Bryce Wheaton, 3 stars, Holly Springs, N.C.
G Briason Mays, 3 stars, Central (Bolivar, Tenn.)
DT James Gmiter, 3 stars, Bethel Park, Pa.
WR Randy Fields, 3 stars, St. Frances Academy (Baltimore)
CB Jayce Rogers, 3 stars, Valdosta, Ga.
DT Tyrese Allen, 3 stars, Paintsville, Ky.
S Charlie Benton, 3 stars, Butler CC (Opelika, Ala.)
OLB Josh Chandler, 3 stars, McKinley (Canton, Ohio)
5 top uncommitted targets
4-star S Kwantel Raines, Aliquippa, Pa.
West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson loves physical hitters such as Kwantel Raines patrolling in his secondary. The Mountaineers will face a big challenge from a crowded cast of suitors including Pitt, Penn State, Kentucky and Florida. He pushed back his official visit to next weekend in what will be a critical trip.
4-star CB Jeremy Webb, Adlai Stevenson (Lincolnshire, Ill.)
Webb has told reporters that West Virginia remains his top choice, but he wanted to explore other options. The commitment of Joshua Norwood may have taken his place, but there could be room for him because defensive backs always are at a premium for Big 12 schools. Virginia Tech has also entered his commitment heavily, raising the stakes with one of the Mountaineers’ oldest rivals now involved.
4-star LB Zakoby McClain, Valdosta, Ga.
After a recent recruiting visit, the Mountaineers appear to be one of the top choices for McClain, a sideline-to-sideline playmaker whose skills would be showcased in the wide-open Big 12. South Carolina has emerged as another leading candidate after he earlier flirted with LSU and Alabama. Other contenders include Cincinnati and Coastal Carolina.
4-star WR Joseph Scates, Dunbar (Dayton, Ohio)
Most assumed that Scates would be heavily involved with the Mountaineers after he picked them and Alabama as his two finalists. Their chances were thought to have risen after the Crimson Tide reportedly have backed away from recruiting him because of grade concerns. West Virginia appears to have taken a similar strategy, although classroom improvement before National Signing Day could make him more palatable.
3-star DE Luke Tenuta, Western Albemarle (Crozet, Va.)
The 6-7, 270-pound Tenuta told 247Sports.com he doesn’t plan on making an official visit to West Virginia. But that doesn’t mean the staff has given up on adding another massive pass rusher. The Mountaineers are among his top 3 schools, along with North Carolina and Virginia Tech.
Here is a breakdown of the number of commits by position and how many are projected to be signed in the class:
QB: 1/1 (Lowe)
TE: 1/2 (O’Laughlin)
OL: 3/4 (Scott, Uzebu, Mays)
WR: 3/5 (Jones, Wheaton, Fields)
DL: 4/4 (Stills, Gmiter, Williams, Allen)
OLB: 1/1 (Chandler)
CB: 2/3 (Rogers, Norwood)
S: 1/1 (Benton)
ATH: 2/2 (Brown, Banks)
Here is a breakdown of West Virginia commits by state:
Georgia: 4 (Uzebu, James, Rogers, Norwood)
Ohio 3: (Williams, Chandler, Scott)
Pennsylvania: 3 (Brown, Banks, Gmiter)
Tennessee: 2 (Lowe, Mays)
Alabama: 1 (Benton)
Illinois: 1 (O’Laughlin)
Kentucky: 1 (Allen)
Maryland: 1 (Fields)
North Carolina: 1 (Wheaton)
West Virginia: 1 (Stills)
Miss a previous edition? Find our weekly West Virginia recruiting update here each week.
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