Welcome to our weekly wrap-up of everything happening with West Virginia football recruiting. In this edition, we discuss several key targets remaining for the Mountaineers heading into next week’s early signing period.
West Virginia will be aiming to close with a bang in the final weekend before the early signing period begins Wednesday.
Only one uncommitted prospect is expected to visit this week, but he’s noteworthy.
Dominique Harrison of Blinn Community College (Brenham, Texas) remains a commitment for Arizona State. But the Sun Devils’ recent coaching change to Herman Edwards has turned the program upside down.
Harrison, the nation’s No. 3 junior college cornerback and 36th player overall, has continued making visits to other schools despite his commitment to Arizona State. And the fact he is visiting West Virginia on the final weekend makes many observers think he might be willing to flip to the Mountaineers in the next several days, 247 Sports.com reported.
Arizona State coach Todd Graham, who was fired after the end of the regular season, recruited Harrison to play for the Sun Devils.
Harrison officially visited the Sun Devils in February as a potential late addition for the 2017 season. But he switched to mid-year 2018 due to academics.
Harrison then committed to Arizona State in May, becoming the first player to do so in the class. He is a product of Atascocita High School in Humble, Texas.
But the coach most involved in recruiting him recently was Arizona State defensive coordinator Phil Bennett, who announced earlier this week he would be leaving the program despite an offer from Edwards to stay in the same position on his staff.
This uncertainty is making the 6-foot, 180-pound Harrison reconsider his decision. And the chance to play against the high-powered air attacks in the Big 12 also apparently is attractive for him.
Former Michigan player Keith Washington committed earlier this week and Missouri commit Vincent Gray visited West Virginia and reportedly is interested in the Mountaineers as well, according to Chris Anderson of the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
This late surge could make cornerback a position of strength for West Virginia’s recruiting class.
It also would provide a talent upgrade for the Mountaineers for the explosive offenses they have struggled to contain since joining the Big 12.
With the return of Will Grier and David Sills V among others on the offense, many are predicting the Mountaineers could challenge for the Big 12 title in 2018.
To do that, their defense must improve. That’s why the arrival of recruits like Harrison into the program would be vital.
West Virginia class rankings for this week
Other late surges from teams grouped around the Mountaineers dropped them to 25th nationally this week in the latest 247Sports composite. It’s a dip of four spaces after the Mountaineers were No. 21 last week for their best rating this season.
West Virginia remains fourth among Big 12 programs, trailing only Texas (No. 2), Oklahoma (No. 7) and TCU (16th). They are head of conference rivals Oklahoma State (No. 27) and Baylor (No. 31).
Two West Virginia commitments weren’t able to make their visit with the rest of the class last weekend.
3-star safety Josh Norwood of Valdosta, Ga. and Northwest Mississippi Community College and 3-star guard Briason Mays of Bolivar, Tenn., both couldn’t make the festivities last weekend in Morgantown, W. Va.
According to 247 Sports.com, despite their no-shows with others in the class, both intend to follow through with their plans to sign with the Mountaineers on Wednesday and enroll in school next month.
Those plans should alleviate concerns from West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff that both players won’t follow through with their original commitments.
The Mountaineers stand at 22 commitments heading into the weekend. Holgorsen has said he would like 25 commitments at the end of the signing period, meaning they have room for three more recruits in this class.
Offers, by the numbers
Reported offers: 280
5-star offers: 10
4-star offers: 85
In-state recruits offered: 3
Texas recruits offered: 21
Georgia recruits offered: 54
Florida recruits offered: 50
Ohio recruits offered: 23
Pennsylvania recruits offered: 23
DE Dante Stills, 4 stars, Fairmont, W.Va.
S Kwantel Raines, 4 stars, Aliquippa, Pa.
ATH TJ Banks, 3 stars, North Versailles, Pa. (East Allegheny)
ATH Leddie Brown, 3 stars, Neumann Goretti (Philadelphia)
CB Joshua Norwood, 3 stars, Northwest Mississippi CC (Valdosta, Ga.)
T Oyenmwen Uzebu, 3 stars, Alpharetta, Ga.
G Blaine Scott, 3 stars, Portsmouth, Ohio (Sciotoville)
DE Alex Williams, 3 stars, North (Pickerington, Ohio)
TE Mike O’Laughlin, 3 stars, Fenwick (Oak Park, Ill.)
WR Dillon Spalding, 3 stars, Lorton, Va. (South County)
QB Woodrow Lowe III, 3 stars, Central (Bolivar, Tenn.)
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.)
S Charlie Benton, 3 stars, Butler CC (Opelika, Ala.)
DT James Gmiter, 3 stars, Bethel Park, Pa.
CB Jayce Rogers, 3 stars, Valdosta, Ga.
WR Randy Fields, 3 stars, St. Frances Academy (Baltimore)
DT Tyrese Allen, 3 stars, Paintsville, Ky.
OLB Josh Chandler, 3 stars, McKinley (Canton, Ohio)
DE Tavis Lee, 3 stars, Martinsburg, W. Va.
CB Keith Washington, 3 stars, Copiah-Lincoln C.C. (Wesson, Miss.)
4 top uncommitted targets
4-star CB Jeremy Webb, Adlai Stevenson (Lincolnshire, Ill.)
The 6-3, 195-pound Webb repeatedly has told reporters that West Virginia remains among his top choices, but he wants to explore other options. He has three schools vying for his commitment in the Mountaineers, Virginia Tech and Nebraska. Webb is familiar with Scott Frost and his group from when they recruited him at UCF. And another late twist occurred when Webb appeared ready to visit Tennessee and new coach Jeremy Pruitt this weekend, although whether he will follow through remains in limbo. West Virginia’s chances appear to be dimming, but hope remains they can convince him to join the program. The opportunity to play cornerback in the pass-happy Big 12 might be tempting for Webb, although Harrison would be an upgrade in playing experience.
3-star CB Taymon Cooke, Graham (Bluefield, Va.)
The Mountaineers are looking for depth in their recruiting class, particularly in the secondary. Cooke has not announced his commitment. His Twitter feed remains littered with references to West Virginia recruits and coaches, so there is obvious interest. But with West Virginia in the hunt for Harrison and Webb, Cooke might be a fallback plan if it can’t get either of the more highly ranked recruits. For Cooke, it’s a competitive battle among West Virginia, Virginia, Marshall and Michigan State.
4-star WR Joseph Scates, Dunbar (Dayton, Ohio)
Most assumed the 6-3, 175-pound Scates would be involved with the Mountaineers after he picked them and Alabama as his two finalists after originally committing and then de-committing from Michigan State. West Virginia’s bid improved after the Crimson Tide reportedly backed away because of late academic concerns. But Rivals.com said Scates’ visit to Louisville went well and now lists the Cardinals and Alabama as his top choices. It will be interesting to see if West Virginia can pull back into the battle in the final days of the early signing period for what would be their top-ranked, skill-position weapon of the class.
3-star WR Kory Taylor, Hilliard Bradley (Hilliard, Ohio)
The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Taylor has long been an interest for the Mountaineers, but the field has as the early signing period approaches. Taylor visited Purdue last week and picked up an offer several days later. He received another offer from Louisville several days later after making an unofficial visit to West Virginia. Other schools in the mix for Taylor include Wake Forest. Taylor told Scout.com that he scored a 30 on the ACT, leading him to also have interest from Ivy League schools such as Yale and Princeton.
Here is a breakdown of the 22 West Virginia commits by position and how many are projected to be signed:
QB: 1/1 (Lowe)
TE: 1/1 (O’Laughlin)
OL: 3/4 (Scott, Uzebu, Mays)
WR: 4/5 (Jones, Wheaton, Fields, Spalding)
DL: 5/5 (Stills, Gmiter, Williams, Allen, Lee)
OLB: 1/1 (Chandler)
CB: 3/4 (Rogers, Norwood, Washington)
S: 2/2 (Benton, Raines)
ATH: 2/2 (Brown, Banks)
Here is a breakdown of West Virginia’s 22 current commits by state:
Georgia: 4 (Uzebu, James, Rogers, Norwood)
Pennsylvania: 4 (Brown, Banks, Gmiter, Raines)
Ohio 3: (Williams, Chandler, Scott)
Tennessee: 2 (Lowe, Mays)
West Virginia: 2 (Stills, Lee)
Alabama: 1 (Benton)
Illinois: 1 (O’Laughlin)
Kentucky: 1 (Allen)
Maryland: 1 (Fields)
Mississippi: 1 (Washington)
North Carolina: 1 (Wheaton)
Virginia: 1 (Spalding)
Miss a previous edition? Find our weekly West Virginia recruiting update here each week.
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