Recruiting Q&A

It's time once again for the BlueGoldNews staff to answer your questions surrounding WVU athletics. In this installment we look into individual football prospects, position-by-position breakdown, examine the final spots for the mens basketball team and more.

Q. Will Monessen (Pa.) linebacker Justice Rawlins wind up at WVU?

Jon: For awhile now, Rawlins has been on the WVU radar, Sure, in large part, one reason is because of his brother, current WVU quarterback, Chavas. However, the younger Rawlins is a talent in his own right.

Even though he doesn't currently hold an offer from West Virginia, I have little doubt one will be extended. Each time I've spoken with him, he continues to repeat he's in no rush for a commitment and isn't detoured from not receiving an offer just yet.

Kevin: Rawlins has been to multiple West Virginia camp sessions, so the Mountaineers know all about him. He came off a serious knee injury to play very well in 2012, and if he continues to progress at the same rate in 2013, it would be surprising if he doesn't get a Mountaineer offer. Justice is clearly "his own man", and won't make a decision based on Chavas' path, but West Virginia should be very much in the picture for his services.

Q. How successful will WVU be at recruiting quality DL/DE talent?

Jon: Obviously, the defensive line is a position of need. It's that way at every school. The good news for WVU is there's a lot of talent from that position -- with mutual interest. four-star defensive tackles Daniel Cage (Cincinnati, OH), Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Jeremiah Clarke (Alexandria, Va.) all have interest in the Mountaineers. All three recruits have indicated to me they plan on visiting WVU either this summer or during next season.

Other notable recruits are defensive ends Tyree Owens (Oviedo, Fla.) and Youngstown (OH) Tymere Dubose, who recently added an offer from the Mountaineers.

Kevin: There are a number of different ways to look at this question. Outstanding defensive ends that can both rush the passer and stand their ground against the run might be the most rare specimens in the recruiting game, so it's not likely WVU is going to snare great players at that spot. It's much more likely to find players (such as Bruce Irvin) or develop them (Renaldo Turnbull), and it's there that attention must be paid. That doesn't mean that West Virginia shouldn't go after the best players at the position, but it also has to be realistic, and understand that it's not going to get their first choices there.

On the inside, there are more players, and more big bodies available, so the pressure isn't quite as great. Again, the dividing line is players that can get pressure and collapse the pocket in addition to standing up against the run. In WVU's recruiting areas, there are enough players to fill the nose position in Keith Patterson's defense, and recent success (Shaq Rowell and Christian Brown) indicate that the Mountaineers should be able to fill that spot.

Q. Which quarterback will be taken first in this class?

Jon: The West Virginia coaches are still in the process of evaluating which signal-caller tops their list. Currently, the staff has offers on the table to almost ten individual recruits.

Many believe the obvious choice (for numerous reasons) is Baltimore (Md.) quarterback, William Crest. He recently said he'll be in attendance for the Mountaineers' spring game and was excited to be back in town.

Others of note are pocket-passers Sean White (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and Zack Darlington (Apopka, Fla.), along with dual-threat quarterback, William Ulmer (Washington, D.C.).

Kevin: WVU, like most every school, separates recruits into different levels, with "Takes" (players that will be immediately accepted), "Holds" (players that will be considered depending on other commitments, and others.

At every position, there is a target number that WVU wants to include in a class, and at quarterback that number is usually one. Therefore, in the "takes" group, the first player to commit is usually the one that will fill the spot. Of those players with offers out at quarterback so far, the first one to commit is very likely to be the one that headlines the QB Class of 2014. Predicting who that will be, though, isn't a question that WVU can answer -- it comes down to the players and their decision.

Q. With WVU handing out numerous offers to four-star recruits, what's the likelihood WVU lands several of those?

Jon: The odds of WVU signing several 4-star recruits are good. Thus far this season the Mountaineers have already earned a commitment from four-star wide receiver, Ricky Rogers. That's a decent start considering last year's class only signed two recruits of that caliber. In addition, WVU has hosted numerous recruits of that stature on visits.

With an emphasis being placed on recruiting hotbeds such as Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina, as well as traditional stomping grounds, Florida, I expect the Mountaineers to earn several four-star commitments.

Kevin: I'm the first person to encourage everyone to make their own evaluations of players, and judge how they fit in West Virginia's system. A player that has a two-star rating might be a four-star in terms of fit to WVU's system, so don't get caught up in those evaluations.

That said, West Virginia does appear to be involved, and getting legitimate interest, from more highly-regarded recruits this year. That's step one -- the next step is to get visits, and ultimately commitments, from those players. If WVU can carry some of this early interest through to commitments, it could have one of its highest rated classes in recent years.

Q. How will the final two spots be finalized on the WVU hoops team for next season?

Jon: The Mountaineers have two spots left -- and several names are on the hot board for the final spots.

Martinsburg (W. Va.) forward Donte Grantham recently received his long awaited offer from the Mountaineers. At this point, while not official, it's believed he's set to join the WVU program with a commitment in the near future. Guard Devin Wilson has eliminated the Mountaineers -- recently naming a final three of Virginia Tech, George Mason, and St. Josephs, while Derek Raymond, a junior college guard from Alabama, hasn't had contact with the WVU staff is over a week.

Kevin: The most recent name tied to West Virginia is Baltimore (Md.) guard Dexter Miles. Fresh off a visit in early April, Miles is taking his test again in early May, and if he earns a qualifying score expects a West Virginia offer.

Also, while Bob Huggins said recently that he did not expect any further departures, it wouldn't be a total shock to see another vacancy crop up before the start of the 2013-14 season.

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