A little over a week ago, the Mountaineers secured a commitment from linebacker Joseph Jackson of First Coast High School, but that wasn't the only player WVU is targeting at the school. Jackson's teammate, Reggie Northrup, has also been offered by West Virginia, and told BlueGoldNews.com that he is "very interested".
"I have been talking with Coach Gillespie, and West Virginia has been recruiting me very hard," he said. "I know they have one of the best defenses in the country, and I've watched them play. I like they way they play defense. They are fast and physical. Coach Gillespie is a cool guy, and very easy to talk to. He is a coach that cares about us. He wants to get me up to West Virginia, and I do want to visit there."
In Jackson and Northrup, First Coast has a pair of defenders that get to the ball quickly. From his outside linebacking spot last year, Northrup racked up 108 tackles, including an eye-popping 40 behind the line of scrimmage, and 7.5 sacks. He credits the freedom of the defense plus some inherent football abilities that allowed him to be such a defensive force as a junior.
"I play on the weak side, and I do get to blitz some in our defense," he explained. "I think I have good instincts. I can locate the ball and get up the field quickly, and that allows me to make plays. I can pass rush too, and I can make plays all over the field. I can get from sideline to sideline."
Northrup also calls on a lifetime of playing football on the defensive side of the ball for experience in making plays. He noted that he has never played offense, and has also played defensive end before moving back to linebacker in high school. It's clear, from his productivity, that he has learned his defensive lessons well.
The duo of Jackson and Northrup expects to combine again to give First Coast an excellent defensive presence in 2011 – so what are the chances that they could continue their careers together in college?
"I am keeping my mind open on that," Northrup said, indicating that Jackson's commitment might have a small effect on his decision, but would not be the determining factor. "I do want to get up to West Virginia, but I don't know about which camps I will attend at this point."
Northrup, who claims offers from schools such as Auburn, Louisville, Notre Dame, Miami, USF, Tennessee and Georgia Tech, doesn't have a narrow timetable for his decision yet, but said that he would like to make his choice by the middle of his senior season. He said it was likely he would take all five of his official visits before he made his decision.