One For The Team

A position switch may have caused Sherman Lang to fall off some teams' recruiting lists, but the wide receiver prospect doesn't regret the decision at all. Neither does West Virginia, which hung in with the talented Floridian and was rewarded with a commitment this weekend.

"I was just trying to help the team, because we needed a quarterback," said Lang, who earned All-Brevard County honors in his year at QB. "We went 9-2, so it worked out."

The Mountaineer coaching staff, which often bounces players to new positions to take advantage of their skills and get them on the field, had to love that attitude. Combined with his production at receiver as a junior, it was certainly enough to justify the scholarship offer that was made.

After a season spent at quarterback, Lang doesn't believe that moving back to wideout will be a problem. He lists "running deep routes" as one of his strengths, and thinks he will be able to pick right up where he left off follwing his junior year.

A handful of other schools, including Colorado, Colorado State, Rutgers and SMU also came through with offers, but the Mountaineer program was the one that caught the unselfish star's attention.

"I saw that the fans love the players there," Lang said after committing to WVU. "It's just a great program overall, and the academics are really good too."

That last is not just lip service, as Lang, who is interested in the business field, has made some tough decisions in order to get his school work in order. After starring for Boca Raton as a junior (and making the Class 4A All-State team), he transferred to Florida Air Academy for his senior season. Many would think that such a move was done for athletic reasons, but that's not the case with Lang.

"At Boca, I wasn't getting my work done and they didn't stay on me about it," he admitted. "FAA is a very good academic school. They keep on you about your grades."

Although the move ended up costing him a chance to play wide receiver during his senior season, it did help him get his grades in order. Lang said he has now achieved a qualifying test score and gotten his grades up as well.

Through the process, WVU assistant coach Herb Hand stayed with Lang -- a trait the Mountaineer staff has shown again and again. While some schools pull off at the first setback, West Virginia typically sticks with players to see if they can overcome a challenge, be it academics, injury or some other obstacle, and make it to college. That was important to Lang, who paid the ultimate compliment to Hand.

"He tells me the truth," said Lang of his recruiting coach. "He doesn't make anything up. He talks good about West Virginia, but he is honest. We get along good."


Like several other recruits in this class, Lang was influenced by West Virginia's win over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. While conventional wisdom holds that the positive effects of that win will be felt more during next year's recruiting, there have already been comments made by several players in this year's class as to the impact the win had on the way they view WVU.

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Lang was hosted by fellow Floridian Kent Richardson, but also had another tie to the West Virginia program.

"I knew a little bit about WVU becasue one of my friends knew Johnny Holmes, who is already up there," Lang said. "I talked with him during the visit, too."

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Like many Floridians, Lang got his first view of snow during his trip to West Virginia, and it did nothing to lessen his appreciation for his intended college home.

"It was good," he said with enthusiasm. "That's not a problem for me at all."

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Lang, who will not take any more visits and said his commitment is solid, plans to enroll at West Virginia during the summer session. He also runs track for FAA, where he competes in the 100- and 200-meter dashes as well as the long jump.

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