Welcome to our weekly wrapup of everything happening with West Virginia football recruiting. In this edition, we discuss the Mountaineers’ newest commits in the Class of 2018.
Virginia is staying close to home with its most recent offer after extending a scholarship to 2018 recruit Tavis Lee from Martinsburg.
— The Journal (@TheJournalWV) December 12, 2016
Lee told Chris Anderson of Charleston Gazette-Mail that he was ecstatic about the offer, only the third for a West Virginia in-state product for the Class of 2018.
“I was very happy,” he told the Gazette-Mail. “They’re at the top [of my recruitment.”]
Lee, a 6-3, 225-pounder has been closely recruited by the Mountaineers for the last year, according to West Virginia’s 247.com site.
He has been evaluated as both a defensive end and an outside linebacker. Lee told 247 Sports West Virginia wants him to redshirt to enable him to bulk him to be able to play in the Big 12.
Lee’s school decision is not expected until after the season. But the West Virginia offer is from the only Power Five school for Lee, who has also been offered by Marshall, Delaware, Albany and several other schools.
“Right now I feel like they (West Virginia) are at the top of my list,” the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Lee told 247 Sports’ Brian Dohn. “Marshall is second. Delaware is third. Albany is fourth. West Virginia is at the top right now for the simple fact I’ve been there the most.
“I’ve been to Marshall a couple of times. I like it down there, too.”
Could team success lead to a top prospect?
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen has to like Lee’s success inside West Virginia’s most dominant football power.
The Martinsburg program is the unquestioned biggest current dynasty in West Virginia high-school football. The Bulldogs have claimed state titles in 5 of the last 7 years and currently are 10-0 this season.
Among the more notable products from the program who have gone to West Virginia include the late Fulton Walker, basketball standout Kevin Pittsnogle and current Mountaineers including safety Deamonte Lindsay, freshman offensive lineman Adam Stilley and transfer tight end Trevon Wesco.
Lee could continue the program’s strong tradition with the Mountaineers if he decides to follow in their footsteps.
West Virginia class rankings for this week
The addition of safety Kwantel Raines last week bumped the Mountaineers’ recruiting class to 25th nationally after they had remained 32nd for several weeks on the 247Sports composite. It boosted them to fourth among Big 12 programs, trailing only Texas, Oklahoma and TCU.
The Mountaineers appear solidly in the hunt for 3-star Daleville (Va.) offensive lineman Jesse Hanson, who came away impressed after visiting the school for last week’s home game against Iowa State.
— Jesse Hanson (@jessehanson72) November 5, 2017
Hanson, a 6-foot-4, 290-pounder, would add some much needed beef in the trenches for next season.
The offer is one of seven that Hanson presently has, he told Chris Anderson of West Virginia’s 247 Sports.com. It is coming as the Mountaineers currently have three offensive linemen in their 2018 class.
Hanson, a junior at Lord Botetourt High School in his hometown, admittedly was more interesting about the Mountaneers’ football program than the school’s academics.
“I didn’t get to see much of the school side of things, but I loved the football part,” Hanson told 247 Sports. “The game day experience, the coaches, the facilities – everything was there.”
Hanson has already received offers from conference rival Iowa State and ACC programs Virginia and Duke among others.
He has received an .0833-rating in 247Sports Composite as the nation’s No. 21 offensive guard.
Expect the Mountaineers to continue their interest in Hanson moving forward.
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.
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 CB Jeremy Webb, Adlai Stevenson (Lincolnshire, Ill.)
The 6-3, 195-pound Webb has told reporters that West Virginia remains his top choice, but he wants to explore other options. The commitment of Joshua Norwood possibly took his place, but there could be room for Webb because defensive backs are at a premium for Big 12 schools. Continue to watch for West Virginia to battle with leading contenders Ole Miss and Virginia Tech for this protypical Big 12 cornerback.
4-star LB Zakoby McClain, Valdosta, Ga.
After a recent recruiting visit, the Mountaineers still appear to be one of the top choices for the 6-0, 205-pound McClain, a sideline-to-sideline playmaker. South Carolina has emerged as another leading candidate after McClain earlier flirted with LSU and Alabama. Other contenders include Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina, Florida State and Nebraska. McClain starts the playoffs this weekend after notching 12 tackles, two for losses, and forcing a fumble in last week’s win for his team.
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. He was at Virginia Tech’s game last weekend as he appears ready to make a decision next month and has planned another unofficial visit to Blacksburg, Va., to check out Justin Fuente’s program. But that doesn’t mean West Virginia’s staff has given up on adding another huge pass rusher. The Mountaineers remain among his finalists, along with North Carolina and Virginia Tech.
4-star WR Joseph Scates, Dunbar (Dayton, Ohio)
Most assumed that the 6-3, 175-pound 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 backed away because of academic concerns. West Virginia appears to have taken a similar strategy, although classroom improvement before National Signing Day could steer him to Holgorsen’s program.
3-star WR Dillon Spalding, South County (Lorton, Va.)
West Virginia’s innovative passing game has caught the attention of the 6-1, 216-pound Spalding, a muscular receiver who could exploit zones and attack small Big 12 cornerbacks. The Mountaineers are involved in a tight recruiting battle with one of the most formidable foes in recruiting, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. If they can bring Spalding into their stable, it would give them another key playmaker.
Here is a breakdown of the 19 West Virginia 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: 3/4 (Jones, Wheaton, Fields)
DL: 4/4 (Stills, Gmiter, Williams, Allen)
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)
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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