Wanted Feeling Led Benton to WVU

Newark (N.J.) Shabazz High linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton committed to West Virginia on Monday, and he spoke with FOXSportsNEXT about the tipping point in his recruitment.

As soon as Newark (N.J.) Shabazz High middle linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton left the West Virginia campus from his official visit last month, he knew he wanted to go to school there.

However, his decision was delayed because he wanted to make sure the Mountaineers staff wanted him just as much.

That answer came Monday morning when West Virginia assistant coach Jake Spavital visited Bloomfield Tech (where Benton goes to school but doesn't have a team so he plays for Shabazz) to check in.

"I already talked to my mom and was ready to make this commitment a couple of days ago, but I was holding out because I was still missing something but I didn't know exactly what it was," Benton said. "The guidance counselor let me know coach Spav came and talked to her.

"He came to check up and he was telling me how after the (Kansas State) game the coaches had a meeting and (co-defensive coordinator Keith) Patterson said, ‘We need more players on defense. You need to get in touch with Al.' That showed me the interest level they had in me and was enough for me to make a decision."

Benton was planning visits to Pittsburgh, Arizona State and Syracuse, but said he will no longer make those trips. He called Spavital and Patterson to give his commitment and said he can now focus on the rest of his season.

"There was excitement on all ends," Benton said. "It's like a burden has been lifted. It's not that I didn't like the recruiting process, but for months it's been people badgering my mom, my brothers, my sisters saying ‘Where is he going?' People would walk up to her in the supermarket and ask her. It's a relief to finally get that off and feel like I made the right decision."

Benton plays middle linebacker at Shabazz, but he will move outside with the Mountaineers.

"They call it the ‘Star' position," Benton said. "From what coach Patterson and I talked about, the ‘Star' is one of their outside linebackers. He's one of their pass rush guys and he said that is where I will start out."


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