Major Interest

The Backyard Brawl not only has the interest of the entire Mountaineer and Panther fan base, but also of a number of recruits who are expected to take in the game Thursday night.

Heading the group are two WVU commitments -- linebacker J.T. Thomas of Ely High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and running back Jetavious Best of Milford Academy, who are taking their official visits. Best, who signed with West Virginia last year before enrolling at Milford for a postgraduate year, will sign another letter of intent in February.

Also slated to provide support are WVU commitments Eric Jobe of LaPlata, Md., and Anthony Leonard of McKeesport, who will join fellow commits Thomas and Best in attempting to sway some of the other recruits in attendance.

Best and Thomas are the only two official visitors slated for Thanksgiving night, but a number of unofficials are scheduled for the showdown.

From West Virginia, quarterback Charlie Russell, lineman Josh Evans of Fayetteville, defensive back Justin Blankenship, defensive end Junius Lewis, defensive back Tommy Spurlock of South Charleston and running back Derek Long of Morgantown are all slated to attend. Many of those players have been to WVU's campus on multiple occasions, but none wants to pass up the excitement of the Pitt contest. Spurlock and Blankenship will both be invited walkons to WVU's program next fall.

Pennsylvania will be the state most represented at the game, with no fewer than 16 Keystone Staters slated to view the contest. Included are offensive linemen Scott Corson of Johnstown, Gino Gradkowski of Seton-LaSalle, Gareth Hissong of Delone Catholic, and Andy Miller of Trinity. Tight end Andrew Devlin of Mount Lebanon is also a fine addition to this very impressive group that is set to catch the game live.

Other offensive players scheduled to visit include wide receiver Wes Lyons of Woodland Hills, running backs Travis McBride of McKeesport and Steve Paskorz of Hampton. The defensive side of the ball won't be ignored either, with players such as safeties Mack Stotts of Shaler and Quindell Dean of Uniontown, and defensive end John Pettine of Archbisoph Carroll also slated to catch the action. Joe and Patrick Fornadel of Mount Lebanon, Tony Glaze and Rashad Odom of Woodland Hills, Cody Endres of Trinity and Scotty Jones of Connellsville round out a crowded, and very exciting, group of players from Pennsylvania.

Ohio provides the rest of the scheduled visitors, and the mix of speed and power in this group is impressive as well. Running backs Jahmal Brown of Benedictine and P.J. Mahone of Elyria, wide receivers Bryant Milligan of Glenville, Bryan Wright of Salem, and Harriel Moore of McKinley, and quarterback Nate Turner of Albert Gallatin provide speed, while Nick Jones of Zane Trace, Mitch Robertson of New Albany and Mario Russell of Mifflin have athleticism to play one of several positions.

BlueGoldNews Top Stories