Football Recruiting Updates

West Virginia has been involved with more high profile blue chip recruits this year than in the recent past. Some have reduced their lists and have either committed elsewhere or have simply eliminated WVU. Others, including the 14 we will now update, have had continued interest in the Mountaineers and are including West Virginia in their final group of potential schools.

Steve Buches (TE, 6-4, 235 lbs., 4.7) Central Catholic High, Pittsburgh, Pa. - One of the top prospects in Western PA, Buches had 32 receptions for over 600 yards last year. From the same high school that produced former Mountaineer star quarterback Marc Bulger, Buches has apparently narrowed his list of schools down to Maryland,Boston College and West Virginia

Kevin Flood (LB, 6-2, 210 lbs., 4.5) Dallas (Texas) Kimball – Flood is a difficult recruit to figure out. Once a WVU commitment, Flood is certainly weighing his options. He may now drop WVU from his list completely, but it's hard to give up on a player of Flood's caliber – one of the top 10 linebackers in the country – who was once so interested in WVU after attending its camp this summer.

Now listing Texas A&M as his favorite along with Oklahoma, Michigan and Georgia Tech, Flood seems destined to stay in the Midwest. Maryland, Florida, Missouri and West Virginia also have a (long)shot at landing him.

Lucas Jackson (LB, 6-2, 220 lbs., 4.5) West Monroe, La. – Jackson is a superstar linebacker prospect,and the Mountaineers deserve a pat on the back for staying in his top five as long as they have. He has nearly every school in the country beating down his door, yet WVU remains in line for a visit. LSU will be tough to beat, but Notre Dame,Alabama and WVU are willing to try.

Broderic Jones (WR, 5-11, 165 lbs., 4.4) Ennis, Texas – Jones stock has risen a lot since the start of his senior season. He has been very productive for Ennis High School this year and is getting considerably more attention from the Big 12 schools than he was when he committed to WVU over the summer.

Jones has since backed out of that commitment and currently has the Mountaineers in his top five along with Arkansas, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Texas. Oklahoma and Texas have yet to offer, but if they do,it could spell trouble for West Virginia.

Rick McDole (OL, 6-6, 325 lbs., 5.2) Marysville, Ohio – McDole is one of the few high profile interior linemen the Mountaineers are currently involved with. McDole has Northwestern (will visit Nov.30)and Georgia Tech (Jan.5 visit) leading with West Virginia (Dec.7 visit) close behind. Pitt is also on his list. He is a big, powerful blocker and could also play defensive tackle.

Vincent Meeks (RB, 5-11, 180 lbs., 4.5) Rockwall, Texas – West Virginia remains Meeks' only major offer,and he has had WVU in the lead since his official visit in September. Until another school offers, Meeks seems sure to commit to West Virginia. He has not gotten much recognition but has the tools to be a very productive player in college at either running back or defensive back.

T.J.Rushing (CB, 5-11, 170 lbs., 4.4) Pauls Valley, Ok. – Oklahoma, Rushing's home-state school, has yet to offer, and if OU should, it will be difficult to keep him from becoming a Sooner. If not, it would seem that West Virginia and Stanford will battle for Rushing's services. Rated as one of the top 100 defensive backs in the country, Rushing, whose high school coach knows WVU assistant Todd Graham, caught the eye of the Mountaineer coaches this summer with an impressive performance at Rich Rodriguez's Football Camp.

Anthony Smith (S, 6-2, 175 lbs., 4.5) Hubbard, Ohio – It seems that Smith is West Virginia's to lose.WVU has been in the lead for this top 20 safety since September,and a verbal commitment could be in West Virginia's near future, if they can get him in for an official visit soon. Ohio State, Smith's early favorite, hasn't shown too much interest lately, and West Virginia could reap the benefits. Pitt and Notre Dame are also on Smith's list.

Troy Smith (QB, 6-1, 200 lbs., 4.6) Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville – Ohio State or West Virginia? That seems to be the question for Smith. And for Mountaineer fans,the answer seems obvious. Smith would be the ideal quarterback in Rich Rodriguez's offense, as he is extremely mobile with a strong, accurate throwing arm. Ohio State, however, is trying to make up ground on the Mountaineers,who have led throughout the recruiting process for Smith. The Buckeyes already have a commitment from Ohio's number one quarterback prospect and one of the nation's elite, Justin Zwick of Massillon 's Washington High.

At 6-4, 205-pounds, Zwick fits well into Ohio State's pro-style offense, and while the Buckeyes are still strongly pursuing Smith, they are doing so with the idea that he would be a defensive back. WVU wants him as a quarterback,and that's one of the biggest reasons the Mountaineers are in the lead.

"West Virginia is still in front," Smith told Bill Kurelic's Ohio Football Recruiting News recently. "I would say Ohio State is probably second."

Smith has led Glenville to a 9-1 regular season record and a spot in the Division I (largest in Ohio)playoffs. So far this year he has passed for 1,000 yards and 14 TDs,while rushing for 400 more yards and six TDs. Smith is slated to visit WVU on Dec. 7. He has also scheduled a Nov. 30 trip to Indiana and Dec. 14 trip to Toledo. Ohio State, Georgia and Michigan State also may get visits.

Kenneth Tookes (WR, 6-3, 180 lbs., 4.4)Jacksonville (Fla.)First Coast – WVU is hot on the trail of this star wideout from Jacksonville. Tookes has outstanding physical tools but has gone unnoticed by some major conference schools. West Virginia is contending with N.C.State,Georgia Tech,Wake Forest and Auburn for Tookes' signature. Florida,should it offer, would be hard to beat, as Tookes reportedly has high interest in the Gators.

The Mountaineers are also very interested in Tookes' teammate, Reggie Lewis (6-0, 180 lbs., 4.5). A quarterback at First Coast, Lewis figures to be a receiver or defensive back in college.

Florida State has already offered Lewis,but the Seminoles have told him they want him as a DB. Lewis wants a chance to play offense as a receiver, and the Mountaineers are offering that opportunity.

James "Tank" Tunstalle (RB/LB, 6-1, 215 lbs., 4.5) Wyoming East High, Mullens,W.Va.– The top prospect in the state this year, Tunstalle has been receiving attention from the Mountaineers since his sophomore season, when he helped lead the Warriors to a Class AA state title.

Wyoming East isn't as powerful as it was that season – its second as a consolidation of Mullens and Pineville – when it ran off a 14-0 record, but Tunstalle still has helped the Warriors to an 8-3 record and a spot in the quarterfinals of the Class AA playoffs after a 6-0 win over Independence last week in the first round.

Tunstalle rumbled to his third straight 1,000 yard season this year. He figures to be a running back or linebacker in college and a number of top notch programs like Florida State, Tennessee, Nebraska and Alabama have all been in contact.It still appears like the Mountaineers have the inside track,though Maryland and Marshall are also trying to make a strong push.

Jawan Walker (RB, 6-0, 185 lbs., 4.5)of Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep – Rated as one of the best athletes among the prospects in Pennsylvania this year, Walker could be either a running back or defensive back in college. A solid student, Walker helped Cathedral Prep earn the Class 4A state championship last year. He apparently has narrowed his list to three – West Virginia, Pitt and Notre Dame.

DeShawn Wynn (RB, 6-0, 210 lbs., 4.3) Cincinnati (Ohio) Reading – Wynn would be the superstar of this class if he should commit, no matter who else decides to be a Mountaineer. Rated by many as one of the top five backs in the country. Though he missed one game with bruised ribs, Wynn has rushed for 1,907 yards on 186 carries with 26 TDs. Reading finished the regular season with an 8-2 record and now heads into the Division V playoffs.

Wynn has had WVU in his top two, along with Alabama, for some time but may be turned off by the Crimson Tide's imminent NCAA infractions. Michigan, Ohio State and Florida are also still in the mix, and Wynn has indicated that he will take all of his visits before making a commitment. Wynn, who rushed for 2,116 yards and 30 TDs as a junior, has scheduled his official visit to West Virginia for Dec. 8, and he also has arranged a trip to Florida for Jan. 11.

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