Welcome to our weekly wrapup of everything happening with West Virginia football recruiting. In this edition, we discuss several key targets for the Mountaineers during this weekend’s games.
West Virginia picked up a coveted commitment this week as Lorton (Va.) South County wide receiver Dillon Spalding has pledged to the Mountaineers.
Spalding made his announcement in an elaborate video montage, choosing the Mountaineers over finalists Michigan, North Carolina State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.
1 0 0 % C O M M I T T E D… pic.twitter.com/xnAve4xqMU
— Dillon Spalding (@DillonSpalding) November 28, 2017
The Mountaineers offered Spalding in February and received visits from him during the summer and during the fall. 247 Sports.com reports he’s also set for an official visit two weeks from now.
West Virginia assistant coach Tony Dews, who had been involved as the Mountaineers’ primary recruiter, visited him shortly before he committed on Tuesday.
The 6-foot-1, 216-pound Spalding is a 3-star recruit who ranks as the nation’s No. 61 wide receiver.
“I’m going to West Virginia, and I’m beyond excited,” Spalding told 247 Sports.com. “I built the best relationship with them throughout the recruiting process, and I felt home when I was there. They throw the ball a lot, too.”
Spalding had a dynamic senior season, producing 47 receptions for 960 yards and averaging 20.4 yards per catch for 14 touchdowns. He also was a threat running the ball, producing 18 carries for 152 yards and notching nine more touchdowns.
Don’t look for him to immediately start producing when he arrives. But if he develops as expected, he could be a steady contributor who helps the program in upcoming seasons.
Spalding expects to sign on Dec. 20 and arrives at West Virginia in June, 247Sports.com reported.
West Virginia class rankings for this week
The arrival of Spalding keeps the Mountaineers at 24th nationally on the latest 247Sports composite. West Virginia had been 23rd two weeks ago and hovered in the top 25 the last several weeks. It keeps them fourth among Big 12 programs, trailing only Texas (No. 2), Oklahoma (No. 7) and TCU (21st). They remain entrenched ahead of Oklahoma State (28th) and Baylor (30th).
West Virginia commitment Charlie Benton appears solidly accounted for in the Mountaineers’ upcoming 2018 class.
But it didn’t stop Iowa from making a last-minute attempt earlier this week to poach the 3-star linebacker/safety from the Mountaineers.
Since the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder visited Morgantown after the season, it appears his commitment to West Virginia has been cemented.
Still, Hawkeye linebackers coach Seth Wallace visited Benton as soon as the contact period opened up. Benson told 247 Sports.com that a scholarship offer wasn’t extended to him, but Iowa coaches said they said they will continue to evaluate him.
“He was just saying there interested in me,” Benton told 247 Sports. “He said they are having meetings to see how many they are going to let go and then he’s going to give me a call.”
Benton said he would consider Iowa, but remains in the Mountaineers fold — at least at this time.
“I’m 100 percent committed,” Benton said.
The rangy Benton is considered one of the most important recruits for the Mountaners for a variety of reasons.
First, he plays a position of need for the Mountaineers where losses are expected to occur after the season.
He’s also contributes at a position that would be spotlighted in the Big 12. The Mountaineers’ coaches project him as a hybrid safety/linebacker who roams the sidelines neutralizing Big 12 aerial attacks.
The Butler County (Kan.) Community College product was considered a huge get for the Mountaineers when he committed to them. He had a big season in 2017, producing 69 tackles, 2 sacks and an interception return for a touchdown.
Standing firm against the poachers
It appears that the Mountaineers’ coaches are doing what they can to protect Benton’s commitment. 247 Sports.com reports that they not only did West Virginia coaches witness him play at Butler, but also visited him and his parents in Opelika, Ala., after he returned home.
The opportunity to play immediately remains for Benton for the Mountaineers.
It will be interesting to see if that’s enough to keep the poachers away from him at the last minute.
Offers, by the numbers
Reported offers: 277
5-star offers: 8
4-star offers: 82
In-state recruits offered: 3
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.
S Kwantel Raines, 4 stars, Aliquippa, Pa.
WR Dillon Spalding, 3 stars, Lorton, Va. (South County)
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)
DE Tavis Lee, 3 stars, Martinsburg, W. Va.
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 his top choice, but he wants to explore other options. The commitment of Joshua Norwood earlier this fall might have taken his spot on the Mountaineers’ roster, but don’t be surprised if there’s room for Webb because physical cover cornerbacks are at a premium for Big 12 schools. He remains the top priority for the Mountaineers among available players. It’s not a stretch to think he could earn a starting position for the Mountaineers by the spring if he picks them. They’ll be battling Virginia Tech and Ole Miss for his commitment.
3-star CB Taymon Cooke, Graham (Bluefield, Va.)
The Mountaineers are looking for depth in their recruiting class, particularly in the secondary. Cooke’s announcement should be the next commitment to drop, perhaps as soon as this weekend. Cooke tells Chris Anderson of 247 Sports.com that he expects to announce “sometime this week.” A tight battle for his pledge includes the Mountaineers, Virginia, Marshall and Michigan State. His decision will be an indicator of which final cornerback the Mountaineers could end up with in their 2018 class. Others who are being considered include Vincent Gray and Marquis Alston. One player is expected to be offered. When Cooke makes his call, it should help clear up who gets the offer.
4-star WR Joseph Scates, Dunbar (Dayton, Ohio)
Most assumed the 6-3, 175-pound Scates would be heavily involved with the Mountaineers after he picked them and Alabama as his two finalists after originally committing and then decommitting from Michigan State. West Virginia’s bid improves after the Crimson Tide reportedly backed away because of late academic concerns. Another wrinkle came as Scates plans to visit Louisville in early December on a recruiting visit less than two weeks before signing day.
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 mushrooms as the early Signing Day approaches. Taylor visited Purdue last week to watch the Boilermakers nail down a bowl berth with a victory over Indiana. Earlier, Taylor had made an unofficial visit to West Virginia. Other schools in the mix for Taylor include Louisville and Wake Forest. Taylor told Scout.com that he scored a 30 on the ACT, leading him to also have serious interest in Ivy League schools like Yale and Princeton.
Here is a breakdown of the 21 West Virginia commits by position and how many are projected to be signed in the class:
QB: 1/1 (Lowe)
TE: 1/1 (O’Laughlin)
OL: 3/4 (Scott, Uzebu, Mays)
WR: 4/4 (Jones, Wheaton, Fields, Spalding)
DL: 5/5 (Stills, Gmiter, Williams, Allen, Lee)
OLB: 1/1 (Chandler)
CB: 2/3 (Rogers, Norwood)
S: 2/2 (Benton, Raines)
ATH: 2/2 (Brown, Banks)
Here is a breakdown of West Virginia 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)
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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