Final Pieces: Defensive Line

West Virginia is heading down the homestretch in this football recruiting cycle as it tries to finalize the class of 2014. One of the biggest remaining needs is along the defensive line, where the Mountaineers find themselves in contention for several prospects.

Though the West Virginia coaching staff is squarely in the middle of a dead period, where no visits can be made with a recruit, the immediate need along the defensive front has never gone silent.

Several prospects names still appear on the Mountaineers big board as potential candidates to round out the class of 2014. Most recently, Aliquippa (Pa.) defensive tackle Jaleel Fields committed to the Mountaineers, while Globe Institute (N.Y.) Jihad Ward pledged to Illinois.

With the addition of Fields, along with Oviedo (Fla.) Tyree Owens, West Virginia has two quality defensive lineman already committed. The belief, though, is they'd like to include one, if not two, more going forward.

New Mexico Military (NM) defensive end Terry Ayeni received an offer from the Mountaineers just a few short weeks ago. Since that offer other programs, such as Texas and Iowa State have offered Oregon has also inquired about the the talented playmaker, which provides even more competition.

West Virginia finds themselves in solid positioning, thanks to Mountaineer offensive line coach, Erik Slaughter.

"He kept it real with me from the beginning," Ayeni said of Slaughter, recalling his history with the Mountaineer assistant. "He wasn't a beat around the bush kind of guy. Everything was direct."

West Virginia is also currently in a battle with fellow Big 12 foe Texas Tech for junior college defensive end Brandon Thorpe.

The Highland C.C. product recently narrowed his top two of the Mountaineers and Red Raiders. Thorpe, who visited West Virginia in early December, gave his visit rave reviews calling it an "amazing experience" and "eye-opening to the possibility of immediate playing time."

He is expected to announce at anytime, though he plans to still visit Texas Tech on January 17.

A final player to watch at the defensive line position is Anthony Clark.

The recruitment of the Buchtel (Oh.) lineman has certainly been intriguing. Clark, who has claimed the Mountaineers as his leader since this past summer, still has strong feelings towards the program.

Though West Virginia is believed to be sitting firmly in the drivers seat, the question remains does Clark have a place in the Mountaineers class? If so, they'll have to battle Pittsburgh, Kent State, Ohio and Toledo, all whom have offered. Clark visited WVU on its last home game of the season.

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