Fertile Ground

West Virginia struck recruiting paydirt at one Florida school in particular last year, and the Mountaineer coaching staff is looking there again for more help in the Class of 2006.

Last year, WVU got quarterback Jarrett Brown and running back Jetavious Best from Palm Beach Lakes High School in West Palm Beach, Fla., and the Mountaineers could follow up on those excellent signings with more players from PBL. WVU has offered wide receiver/safety prospect Brandon Heath, and is also looking closely at offensive line prospect Jeremy Baker. Both players are scheduled to attend camp at WVU in June.

"Brandon is the real deal. He's a five-star prospect", assistant coach and WVU alumnus JaJuan Seider told BlueGoldNews.com. "The only tough thing about him is deciding where to play him. He's a great safety, but I think he's just as good at wide receiver."

Many share Seider's assessment, as Heath has been offered a number of scholarships, including Louisville, Florida, Georgia and Miami. Most of those schools appear to be interested in him as a safety first, but Seider thinks he has just as much potential on the offensive side of the ball.

"He's a bigger version of Peter Warrick," Seider said as he compared Heath to the former Florida State star. "He's six-one, one-ninety now, and he's tough to handle. But like I said, it's hard to say which side he's better on. It might come down to where the school has the biggest need."

Heath's teammate, Baker, hasn't received the notoriety or the offers that Heath has to date, but that doesn't lessen his stature any in Seider's eyes. The massive Baker (6-5, 320 lbs., 5.3) is a run stuffing and blocking specialist for Palm Beach Lakes, and expects to be an offensive lineman in college.

"I think teams might be missing the boat on Jeremy," said Seider, who was a quarterback at West Virginia before finishing up his collegiate career at Florida A&M in 1999. "He's a big guy, and he moves people."

Schools in the mix for the big lineman include WVU, South Carolina, North Carolina State, South Florida and Florida International. To date, only FIU has offered, but Baker hopes a strong camp performance will help gather more offers.

Heath and Baker speak with Brown and Best often, and the subject of West Virginia often comes up. With that link to WVU already established, it wouldn't be a surprise to see more future Mountaineers from this area of the Sunshine State.


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