Childhood Favorite

"I've always liked them," Shaquille Petteway said of West Virginia's football team on Sunday, so there's no surprise that he committed to the Mountaineers following WVU's win over UNLV on Saturday.

"I've liked them since I was a kid," Shaquille Petteway told on the way back from his visit to West Virginia. "I watched Steve Slaton and Pat White growing up, and I've always followed them."

When Petteway made his trip to West Virginia for his official visit this weekend, he had a little different feeling. While he has been to the WVU campus on several occasions, both for his own recruitment and for that of former and future teammate Branko Busick, he knew this was a special occasion.

"It did feel different," he said of the emotions he encountered on the short trip to the WVU campus. "I had a different feeling about the whole thing. I had the gut feeling I was going to commit, so I think that was it."

Petteway doesn't project as a traditional outside linebacker in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense, thus some talent evaluators have overlooked him as a guy without a position in college. In the right scheme, however (such as West Virginia's odd stack), Petteway could be a perfect fit. As a spur, he'd have the size to be the seventh defender in the box against the run, but he clearly has the speed and coverage skills to defend the pass. He's very aggressive in getting to the ball, and he excels at sifting through traffic to do so. He has very good open field tackling skills, and shows solid technique in taking great pursuit routes to the ball. He also shows great determination in getting the maximum from his abilities, and he projects as a player that's going to continue to improve over the course of his college career.

"I'll be playing somewhere on the outside," Petteway said. "The coaches talked to me about that some."

Petteway was also being courted by Michigan State, but decided that his longtime favorite was a better fit for him. His family was happy for his choice, but he noted that while he discussed it with them, the final decision was his alone. In addition to those conversations, he also used what he learned from the recruitment of Busick to help make his decision.

"I saw a lot of the recruiting process from when Branko went through it, so West Virginia was familiar to me," he observed.

Hailing from the football factory of Steubenville High School, Petteway thinks he is being well-prepared for the college game. "Playing in this program has helped me mature," he noted. "I think I'm well-coached, and I learn from what they say. I'm able to use my speed to my advantage, too."

Petteway was recruited by Mountaineer offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen, and he has high marks for the way in which the WVU assistant built a relationship with him

Coach Mullen is a down-to-earth type of guy," he said. "I can trust him – I knew that from the first. We had a ball from the first time we met."

Petteway said that he won't be making any more recruiting trips, and that the recruiting process "is done" for him. He noted that making the commitment will give him more drive as he closes out his senior season, giving him the desire to show that the scholarship he earned is well-justified. He'll close out his high school career with stints on the basketball court and on the track team, where he runs sprints and sprint relays. At six feet and 205 pounds, he has recorded a personal best time of 10.8 in the 100 meter dash.

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