Recruits To Watch In West Virginia

The decision by George Washington High running back Ryan Switzer to verbally commit to North Carolina this week apparently ends the recruiting battle for the player many consider the top prospect in the state of West Virginia this year.

But there are several other Mountain State seniors-to-be high school prospects who will get plenty of scrutiny through the summer camp/combine circuit and on into the fall's football season.

Switzer was the only in-state player currently holding a scholarship offer from WVU, but there a half dozen or so other prospects Dana Holgorsen's program is still evaluating. Any of them could still end up with a scholarship offer of their own from the Mountaineers at some point in the future. Here are three of those prospects:

  • Cedric Brown (6-3, 180 lbs., 4.65), WR from Martinsburg HS

    A Class AAA first-team all-state selection last year as a junior, Brown helped the Bulldogs capture the state championship the past two seasons.

    Cedric, whose father, Todd Brown, played at Marshall, caught 57 passes for 846 yards with 12 touchdowns last year, and he was one of 300 high school juniors invited to the Proving Ground National Combine in Phoenix this past January, which is held in conjunction with the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, a national all-star game for high school seniors.

    Marshall already has extended a scholarship offer to Brown and plenty of other Division I programs like Rutgers, West Virginia and Georgia Tech, are also paying close attention.

  • Dustin Crouser (6-2, 225 lbs., 4.7), LB from George Washington HS

    Switzer, the reigning Kennedy Award winner (given to the state's top player each year), obviously gets a lot of attention for the Patriots, but his GW teammate, Crouser, also has gained plenty of notice himself the past couple of years.

    A Class AAA first-team all-state selection at linebacker last season as a junior, Crouser battled through a shoulder injury in the 2011 playoffs to lead the Patriots to the Class AAA championship game, where they fell to Martinsburg. Crouser and GW also made it to the title game last month in basketball, where it lost another heartbreaker to an Eastern Panhandle team – Hedgesville.

    With his combination of size and athleticism, Crouser, who was last fall's runner-up for the Hunt Award, which is given to the top defensive player in the state, is getting noticed by plenty of colleges, including West Virginia, Wake Forest and Marshall.

  • DeShawn Alexander (6-2, 185 lbs., 4.6), RB from Chapmanville HS

    While Switzer, Brown and Crouser all are widely recognized in the state prep circles for their past accomplishments, Alexander isn't as well known … yet.

    The adopted son of former Mountaineer running back Robert Alexander, DeShawn is viewed as a player with vast potential. But to this point, it's still more potential than accomplishment.

    One problem for Alexander is that he attended five schools from his freshman to junior years of high school. He spent his freshman year at Huntington High, and then moved to St. Albans High School for his sophomore year. He and his family moved to Florida after his sophomore season, but returned to St. Albans shortly before for the start of his junior year. He played for the Red Dragons at the start of the 2011 season, but then had his academic eligibility denied by the Kanawha County Board of Education – in accordance to a transfer rule that has since been overturned.

    Unable to play at St. Albans, Alexander transferred to Chapmanville midway through the season. He stepped into the Tigers' lineup fairly quickly, but his production started slowly, as it took him a few games to get acclimated.

    He began to hit his stride in the last couple of regular season games and then on into the playoffs, helping Chapmanville to the Class AA semifinals before losing to Point Pleasant, 33-13. In his six games with the Tigers, Alexander rushed for 391 yards and four touchdowns on 48 carries.

    His late season performance has piqued the curiosity of a number of colleges, but all will want to see more before any scholarship offers are forthcoming.

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