WVU Signs Crest, Thomas-Williams

Quarterback William Crest, running back Donte Thomas-Williams and lineman Amanii Brown signed with West Virginia around 11 a.m. today, giving the team a boost of skill-postion talent.

UPDATE (11:25 a.m.) Crest, a 6-2, 210-pound signal caller from Baltimore's Dunbar High, is rated as the 32nd-best QB nationally by Scout.com. A 2013 Maryland All-State First Team quarterback, Crest completed 122-of-216 passes for 2,232 yards and 17 touchdowns and ran for 672 yards and eight touchdowns. He helped lead the Poets to two state championships (2012, 2011) and three state playoff appearances (2013, 2012, 2011). As a senior, Crest led Dunbar to a 9-4 record and a second-round appearance in the state playoffs. Unlike returners Clint Trickett and Paul Millard and JuCo transfer Skylar Howard, Crest must wait until fall to compete for a wide open starting job.

Thomas-Williams, a Scout.com four-star player, is a sizeable back (6-1, 220 lbs.) with a blend of power and speed. Lacking a great 40 time - he runs a 4.55 - Thomas-Williams instead relies on shiftiness and strength. WVU beat out an offer list including Florida State, Clemson, South Carolina, Florida, Notre Dame, Ohio State, UCLA and Virginia Tech. Thomas-Williams rushed for 750 yards and six scores as a junior before finishing with with 2,400 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns as a senior. he also had 20 catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns and helped lead Hillside to a 9-3 record, the PAC 6 Conference championship and advance to the second round of the state playoffs. Thomas-Williams was a two-time All-PAC 6 Conference selection

Local product Amanii Brown (6-5, 285 lbs.), from Morgantown High, also signed. The linemen, WVU's fifth of the class, played center, tackle and guard, helping lead the Mohigans to an 8-3 record as a senior and a playoff berth. Brown was named a 2013 West Virginia Class 3A All-State Second Team Offense selection and was part of an offensive line that helped pave the way for the Mohigans to average 37.2 points per game and amass 3,643 rushing yards and 43 touchdowns. Defensively, he finished with 24 tackles, including one sack, with 14 tackles for loss and a pass breakup. Brown has a solid upside and the frame to add strength and bulk. He was rated the 23rd-best center in the nation by Scout.com.

UPDATE (10:12 a.m.): Walter Rauterkus (6-6, 286 lbs.)and Yodney Cajuste (6-6, 270 lbs.) bring the Mountaineers' offensive line commits to four along with JuCo transfer Sylvester Townes and Dontae Angus, long thought a Florida lean who flipped to WVU. The Mountaineers are expecting LOIs from two more linemen, Jamie Kerr (6-5, 265 lbs.) from Eastern Christian Academy in Maryland and Justin Scott (6-6, 285 lbs.) from Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif.

Rauterkus helped lead Avon to a three-year record of 36-5 with one state championship appearance and two regional finals. He was a 2013 Associated Press All-Ohio Division II Third Team offense and the Lorain County co-Offensive Lineman of the Year. He helped lead Avon to a 12-1 record, the West Shore Conference Championship and the regional semifinals and was part of offensive line that paved the way for the offense to average 37.0 points per game, pass for more than 3,300 yards and run for more than 1,700 yards.

Cajuste played offensive and defensive line for coach Damon Cogdell at Miramar High. He was named All-Broward County Third Team and helped lead the Patriots to a 12-1 record, the district championship, the third round of the state 8A playoffs and a No. 13 ranking in the state. Miramar average 370 yards a game in total offense and score 48 touchdowns. He is a Scout.com three-star player rated rated 111th at his position.

UPDATE (8:56 a.m.): WVU has just added DE Jaleel Fields, S Daejuan Funderburk and CB Jaylon Myers. Fields, a 6-3, 286 pounder from Aliquippa, Pa. was a four-year starter on the offensive and defensive line for coach Mike Zmijanac at Aliquippa High. He was a two-time Pennsylvania Class 2A All-State First Team Offense and helped lead the Quips to four straight WPIAL championship games. As a senior, the defensive end helped lead Aliquippa to a 12-1 record and the Class 2A WPIAL championship game and helped pave the way for the offense to rush for 4,167 yards and average 45.8 points per game. He was also part of defense that surrendered only 12.1 points per game and recorded four shutouts.

Funderburk, (6-0, 185 lbs.) is a Scout.com three-star player who had offers from Tennessee, Eisconsin, Pitt, Miami, Florida State, Arizona and Nebraska, among others. He took an official visit to Morgantown on Jan. 17 and committed a day later. Here's a breakdown from BlueGoldNews.com: "Funderburk has good size, and packs nearly 190 pounds on his frame. He uses every bit of that weight to good use. Against the run, he closes quickly and picks the most direct route to get to to the ball. He can filter past blockers, but has the ability to shed a hit and force plays into help. Those strengths also show up in his coverage skills, where he makes good breaks on the ball and can cause drops and incompletions with well timed hits.

"He's at his best moving forward, when he makes his decision quickly and gets into the play. As a free or strong safety, he has the quickness to cover the field to help against the pass, and he isn't afraid to stick his face into the fan against the run. His tackling and aggressive play will be big positives in a league that demands not only good pass coverage, but getting receivers on the ground quickly when they do make catches. That being the case, he's not a likely cornerback, as his strengths lie in closing on receivers and finding the ball in the air, along with his run support. That doesn't mean he's weak in pass coverage, as he has shown the ability to stay with opponents that run spread looks -- it just means that his abilities are best suited for safety as he moves on to the college level.

Myers, 6-2, 195 lbs., was a first team NJCAA. He recorded 16 tackles (10 solo), had two TFL, six pass breakups and eight interceptions totaling 182 return yards with one touchdown and one forced fumble. His eight interceptions were the most in NJCAA and he helped Hutchinson to an 8-4 record in 2013. His defensive unit allowed only 154 passing yards and 16.9 points per game last season.

First off the literal fax machine this morning was Dravon Henry (5-11, 185 lbs.), a Scout.com four-star defensive back who has the potential to provide a talent jolt to the Mountaineer secondary. The 5-11, 185-pounder chose WVU over Pitt and was secured by a few minutes after the 7 a.m. period began. Henry was quickly followed by defensive lineman Tyree Owens (6-3, 260 lbs.), wideout Lamar Parker (5-9, 170 lbs.) and offensive lineman Dontae Angus (6-6, 330 lbs.) Xavier Preston (LB, 6-3, 220, Jensen Beach, Fla./ Jensen Beach) and Jacob McCrary (WR, 6-0, 182, Miami, Fla./Coral Reef) have also just signed.

Henry, a two-time Pennsylvania Class 2A All-State First Team, 2013 as athlete and 2012 at defensive back, earned a spot on the 2013 All-USA Today All-State Football First Team as a running back. He helped lead the Quips to four straight WPIAL championship games. On offense, Henry finished his career with 5,454 rushing yards on 588 carries, an average of 9.3 yards per carry. Owens finished with 68 tackles for Oviedo (Fla) High, including three sacks and 10 tackles for loss as a senior and also had a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and blocked a kick. He was named two-time Orlando Sentinel All-Area Second Team defensive line. Owens earned a spot on the 2013 All-Seminole Athletic Conference First Team defense and was selected to play in the Central Florida All-Star Game. His signing was key for a WVU team a bit short on lineman.

Parker helped lead Booker T. Washington High (Miami, Fla.) to a 14-0 record in 2013, the Florida 4A state championship and the national championship. He finished his career with 2,198 receiving yards on 132 catches and 23 touchdowns and registered 2,789 all-purpose yards. Owens had 43 receptions for 761 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior, as well as two kick returns for touchdowns.

Angus, a bit of a surprise for the Mountaineers, helped lead Philaddelphia's MLK High to a 12-2 record in 2013. MLK won the Philadelphia Public School 3A championship and made an appearance in the first round of the state playoffs as Angus earned 2013 Pennsylvania Class 3A All-State Second Team offensive line honors. He was a 2013 Philadelphia High School Coaches' 3A All-Public School Team (OL/DL) and got selected Philadelphia Inquirer All-Southeastern Pennsylvania Second Team offensive line. Angus also helped pave the way for the offense to average 39.0 points per game.

Preston accounted for 55 tackles, five TFL, three sacks and three forced fumbles as a senior and had double-figure tackle games of 14, 12 and 11 during his senior season. He also recorded six catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns. McCrary finished with 28 catches for 505 yards, an 18.0 yards per catch average and four touchdowns. He registered three or more catches in six games and had four catches for a season-high 141 yards against Killian. The wideout was named 2013 Miami Herald All-Dade County Third Team and Honorable Mention in 2013 and earned a spot in the Miami-Dade vs. Team Florida All-Star Game.

West Virginia had already welcomed early enrollees QB Skyler Howard, LB Davonte James, LB Edward Muldrow, DB Keishawn Richardson, WR Ricky Rogers and OL Sylvester Townes. All bios and additional premium information can be found on BlueGoldNews.com's recruiting board, and on our Twitter account, Facebook page and inside our chat room.

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