David Long is the first player listed as a true linebacker to commit to the West Virginia this year, and could fill an outside role at that position in college. He might just as easily, depending on the way he grows and progresses, play at the spur or bandit position at WVU, but either way the Mountaineers are getting a player known for his decision-making and quick reactions on defense.
WHAT TO LIKE: Playing an outside backer position for Winton Woods, Long is put in a position to bring his quick reactions and decision making to bear on opponents. Once he diagnoses a play, he gets started quickly, and acts decisively in attacking the ball. He can often beat blockers to the point of attack, and is a solid tackler who usually wraps up well to bring opposing ball carriers to the ground.
It's also good to see that Long paid his own way for a unofficial visit to West Virginia this past weekend. While that trip was not a lengthy one, the fact that he wanted to be on hand for a big game, along with his longtime interest in West Virginia, shows that he has put thought into his decision. While no commitment is 100% sure until the signature is on the letter of intent, this looks to be as close as anyone can be to a sure thing.
Long is also a relentless in pursuit, and has video littered with plays where he runs down sweeps and outside runs from the back side. As good as his physical talents are, he might best be described as "a football player" -- a guy who doesn't just rely on outrunning or physically dominating foes, but one who analyzes and quickly decides on the best course of action.
POSSIBLE CONCERNS: Long has played both safety and linebacker at Winton Woods, but pass coverage downfield might still be a bit of a question, although not a serious one. He has very good speed, and at linebacker has displayed the ability to drop into short coverage and undercut routes. That experience as a "robber" should help him against passing attacks, but it is an area where he will have to develop.
A second item is more of a question than a concern: At what position will he ultimately end up? As an outside 'backer, his speed and talent at sliding through traffic to find the ball is very appealing, but his decisiveness in making a read and getting to the ball could also make him an excellent spur or bandit. It might take a bit for him to find his best position, but there's no doubt that he has a good mix of physical and mental skills to make him an excellent defender.
OVERALL ANALYSIS: Long's speed was also noted as a big plus by Scout.com's Brian Dohn, who singled him out as one of the big visitors on West Virginia's home weekend against Oklahoma. With more than a dozen offers, other schools recognized his abilities, with WVU beating out Louisville, Missouri, Cincinnati, Illinois and Kentucky for his services. Currently rated as the #73 outside 'backer in the country and a three-star performer by Scout.com, Long is a solid building block for the middle level of the Mountaineer defense. He might not be the flashiest or most highly-rated recruit on the roster, but is the type of hard-working player around which West Virginia has long developed its best teams.Class of 2015 WVU Football Verbal Commitments