Verbal View: Xavier Preston

West Virginia received a surprise on Halloween night, as Jensen Beach (FL) linebacker Xavier Preston committed to the Mountaineers. He's the third linebacker in WVU's Class of 2014, and we analyze what he will bring to the Mountaineer program.

Xavier Preston, who chose WVU over offers from Georgia Tech, Illinois, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida and others, brings an athletic skill set to the linebacker position in this recruiting class for the Mountaineers. Those qualities have been a priority, highlighting West Virginia's need for mobility and speed on the second level of the defense.

WHAT TO LIKE: A key component for the Mountaineers in this class cycle is to find athletic playmakers -- and that rings true with Preston's commitment. Preston is, in fact, a quick starter who runs sideline-to-sideline very well. He uses a solid combination of strength and speed to not only rush off the edge, but drop back in coverage. He looks to have the quickness to be a defender that can range the field.

Last season, Preston recorded 50 tackles, including 14 for losses and four sacks. He also forced four fumbles.

POSSIBLE CONCERNS: While Preston is certainly athletic he's not overly physical. At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, Preston has the frame to build on. So while he may not make an immediate showing next season, the future should be bright.

Xavier Preston
HT 6-2
WT 215
SCH Jensen Beach HS
LOC Jensen Beach, Fla.
Preston will need to work on refining his technique stopping the run -- and that can be reenforced with time in the weight room.

"I feel like I need to get bigger, stronger," Preston told BlueGoldNews about areas where he needs improvement. "If I can work on that I can really be a force."

OVERALL ANALYSIS: As mentioned, Preston fits ideally with that West Virginia is trying to accomplish with their linebackers in this class. Now in the Big 12, the need for an athletic playmaker at the position is more crucial than ever.

Preston may not make an immediate impact next season -- and could likely benefit from a redshirt year. That will help build strength for the weekly grind throughout a tough season. However, Preston is a cornerstone the Mountaineers can build on for the future.

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