Cornering The Market

West Virginia will look to bring in at least a pair of cornerbacks in its football recruiting class of 2012, and it recently made a scholarship offer to a talented cover man with interest from a wide-ranging group of schools.

Larry Hope of American High School in Hialeah, Fla., was "glad to get an offer from West Virginia", when he got the official word from the Mountaineer coaching staff.

"They told me they loved my film," said Hope. " I hit and make plays on the ball. They told me they liked the way I use my hands and footwork to help cover, and that they thought I hit like a safety."

While he's not a huge player at six feet and 170 pounds, Hope plays with a physical edge that helps him jam receivers off the line.

"I use my weight and leverage for that, but I really use my feet to get in the proper position," he said of his coverage ability. "Using the right technique is important, and I pride myself on that. The coaches at West Virginia told me they see me as a cover corner, and think I can do that. I've played both cornerback spots in high school, and we've played mostly man, but we also play some zone. I like playing man, but I can play whatever is needed. I think I have the full package."

Hope also has the confidence a player needs who faces off against the top offensive threats opponents put on the field. He doesn't show cockiness, but is matter-of-fact about his ability.

"I've been playing football for a lot of years, so I don't get butterflies," said Hope, who typically draws the best receiver on opposing teams. "I'm used to going out there and playing hard. I work hard in practice, and I do everything I can to improve."

Hope's work ethic flows from his father and uncle, who have coached and mentored him throughout his career. His uncle, who coaches defensive backs, talks with him about drills and practice routines, pointing out areas where he can improve and what he can get from each practice repetition. That coaching has become the basis for his approach to the game, and has instilled in him the desire to improve that has made him a rising star among Florida defensive backs.

Schools across the country are taking increasing notice of the rising senior. After an excellent 7-on-7 camp in March, Hope has reeled in offers from Kansas, USF, Wisconsin, Louisville, Duke and Nebraska, and he figures to get more as the summer progresses. He reiterated that he was very pleased to get an offer from WVU, and that he wants to learn more about all of the schools recruiting him.

"I'd really like to visit all of the schools if I can," said Hope, mapping out the same diligent approach to recruiting that he uses for the game itself. "I'm going to try to get to as many as I can in the summer. I'm looking for a family bond, and for coaches that can help me improve."

Hope said he has not set a timetable for making a choice yet, but he does know one person that will be involved in the process.

"I'll work with my father and learn about the schools, and he'll be very involved in the process with me," he said.

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