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West Virginia has long been on the radar of defensive lineman Imarjaye Albury, so when interest from the Mountaineers began coming his way last month, he was quickly intrigued.

"West Virginia got involved with me in early February, and at first I was surprised," Albury said. "But as I talked with them, I found that West Virginia is what I was looking for. West Virginia has always been a big time school, and people always told me I should check them out. West Virginia has always been as big as 'the U' (Miami)."

A native of the city, Albury is quite aware of the Hurricanes' history. However, he indicated that he has wanted to leave Miami for college, and when West Virginia's offer came along, it was the perfect fit. A defensive lineman all his life, he saw a great match for his skills with defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel's scheme.

"They have a great defense. I came up playing that 3-3-5, and I fell in love with it," he said. "They recruited me as a nose, and I love playing it. That's the position I have always played."

One of the players that Albury patterns his game after is Ndamukong Suh, the dominating lineman who just won rookie of the year honors in the NFL.

He's a beast. What he can do at his size is amazing. He's a powerful guy. That's how I like to play, and that's what I like about playing nose. I'm taking on the center, and I have an edge there. He has to worry about the snap count, and making calls, and getting the ball back to the quarterback. I just have to get off the ball and drive him back."

Of course, when he comes to college, things will get a little more complex, but the developing lineman appears to have the tools to make the jump. He plays with a low center of gravity, understands leverage, and has a love for contact and mixing it up in the middle of the action. That's just a starting point, but a good one for the enthusiastic rising senior.

When he arrives in Morgantown, Albury will also have some friends and acquaintances to help ease the transition.

"I know all of the Miramar guys, and Ivan McCartney," he said, listing off several Florida natives on the Mountaineer roster. "I also know Robert Sands, who just finished there. And Marquis Lucas, who just signed there, is one of my good friends."

That familiarity should also help ease the coaching transition which took place just as Albury was ready to make his decision. Lonnie Galloway started out as his recruiting coach, but when he accepted the Wake Forest job, Robert Gillespie stepped in to complete the job. The changeover didn't appear to have a big impact on Albury's decision, which he made on his own hook.

"My parents told me it was my decision, and I knew where I wanted to go," he said of the short recruiting process. "I didn't talk a lot about it with anyone. I knew I wanted to get away from Miami, and my parents told me they were behind my decision. When I told them I had picked West Virginia, they were very happy with it."

Even though it was early in the process, Albury was getting strong interest from Big East schools Louisville and Rutgers. Florida Atlantic interest and and offer from Buffalo were also on board, but he was so happy with the offer and everything that he learned from West Virginia that he decided to end it. He did admit that he might look at other schools, but said they would have to go a long way to outdo WVU.

"Right now I love West Virginia, and I see myself there," he added "I don't think anything else any school can show me can outdo them. I do plan on visiting West Virginia sometime this summer. I will try to get there for camp, but if I can't make that, I will definitely be there at some other point over the summer."


NOTES

  • Albury said he currently stands six feet, one inch and tips the scales at 280 pounds. He has not run a timed 40-yard dash.

  • Albury has participated in field events such as shotput in the past, but now plans to concentrate solely on football for the rest of his high school career.

  • Holding a 20 on the ACT, Albury also has a solid GPA and expects to qualify if he continues to earn similar grades in the classroom.

  • The possessor of a unique first name, Albury himself is mystified as to its origins.

    "I've always tried to figure out where it came from myself," he said with a laugh when asked about it. "I asked my parents, and they never say. It's not a family name or anything like that. I do like it. It has a unique sound."


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