It’s time once again for another edition of the BlueGoldNews.com recruiting mailbag. In this installment we’ll examine the top in-state football prospects West Virginia is recruiting, which positions will be a primary focus in the class of 2017 and if the Mountaineers are finished recruiting for this year's hoops class.
Q: Will WVU have a chance with any big time defensive lineman?
A: Expect West Virginia to be extremely active along the defensive front in the class of 2017. We’ve seen a flurry of offers being extended of late and several prospects are strongly considering the Mountaineers. Pittsburgh (Pa.) defensive tackle Kurt Hinish, Sterling (Va.) Tommy Christ and Delray Beach (Fla.) standout Lamonte McDougle are high on the board at the tackle spot. A trio of prospects from Florida – Jacob Lichtenstein, Deandre Johnson and Noah Curtis are targets to watch along the edges of the defensive line.
Q: Which prospects will be in attendance for the next junior day on March 13?
A: The Mountaineers will host upwards of 50 prospects for the next junior day being held next month. The most notable prospects are defensive tackle Lamonte McDougle, wide receiver Darrian Felix and in-state offensive lineman prospects Riley Locklear and Billy Ross.
Q: What are West Virginia’s chances with top QB prospect Tristan Gebbia?
A: Following the release of his top five (which included WVU) Gebbia visited West Virginia to get a closer look at the program. The Mountaineers did nothing to hurt their chances and are appealing option because of the style of offense they employ. The competition for his services is stiff, though, as they’ll have to beat out Nebraska and Ole Miss who are considered to have an edge.
Q: The focus in this class is on offensive line, defensive line and defensive back. Who are the top targets at each position?
A: Some of these answers are in other questions in this edition, but here is a recap. The Mountaineers are being aggressive with in-state offensive lineman prospects Riley Locklear and Billy Ross. Two Florida prospects, Lamonte McDougle and Jacob Lichtenstein, are being pursued on the defensive line and junior college cornerbacks Alex Woods (Lackawanna) and Octavious Morgan (Butler C.C.) are highly regarded.
Q: What is your view of recruiting in western Pennsylvania for the class of 2017?
A: The area of western Pennsylvania will always be a focal point to the recruiting success for West Virginia. Other programs, such as Pitt and Penn State, have focused on the area more with new coaches in the fold. The Mountaineers will continue to pursue and be aggressive, as we’ve seen with a flurry of recent offers over the last several weeks. With new safeties coach Matt Caponi having ties to the area, the combination of he and defensive coordinator Tony Gibson gives WVU a solid combination to continue their past success.
Q: Will West Virginia offer Fairmont Senior (W.Va.) defensive end Darius Sills?
A: A tricky question given I’m not at liberty to guess on potential offers. But Sills has a nice frame at 6’3, 255-pounds. The Mountaineers are aware of him as he’s visited on several occasions. He’s definitely a prospect to watch moving forward.
Q: Are you concerned West Virginia only has one commitment in the class of 2017?
A: Simple answer – no. As we’ve seen in the past commitments can happen in waves. I anticipate the number to climb as the Mountaineers approach another junior day session and summer camps right around the corner.
Q: Is West Virginia still recruiting for the men’s hoops team?
A: Is West Virginia ever “finished” with recruiting? Bob Huggins has always made it clear if he believes he can make his team better, he’s interested. Word surfaced earlier this week he’ll be watching Cape Fear C.C. small forward Alonzo Tyson . At this point I wouldn’t anticipating any late additions. That could always change, however, with any defections that could occur. But as of now it appears Coach Huggins is simply doing his due diligence on the recruiting trail.