No Visit? No Problem

There has to be a great deal of confidence on the part of a young man to commit to a university he has never set foot on. However, that's just what the latest pledge to the West Virginia University football program has done.

Jock Sanders, a 5-8, 185-pound multipurpose athlete from St. Petersburg (Fla.) Catholic High School has had West Virginia among his top three schools for a while, but was unable to make a scheduled trip to WVU over the summer due to flight problems. However, the fact that he has never seen the campus didn't keep him from becoming West Virginia's 13th verbal commitment in the class of 2007.

"I've seen pictures and talked to people, and it seems like a great school," Sanders said after making his verbal commitment to West Virginia on Tuesday night. "I made a connection with [wide receivers coach] Butch Jones, and they told me all about the school.

"It's not a problem at all that I haven't been there yet. I will talk with Coach Jones [on Wednesday] and will set up an official visit soon."

Although a bit shorter than many skill position players, Sanders' all-around talents were too much for WVU to overlook. He has played quarterback, running back, slot receiver and safety for Catholic, and fills in his spare time running back punts and kickoffs. He'll certainly get the chance to show the latter skills early in his Mountaineer career, and seems destined for a look at running back or receiver as well. His multi-talented portfolio made him a very attractive prospect to the West Virginia coaching staff.

Sanders, who admits, "I like the ball in my hands," is an electrifying runner that makes defenders miss with sharp cuts and excellent stop-and-start moves. Add in his threat as a kick returner, and he becomes a dangerous weapon for any offense. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a junior while earning all-area, all-county and all-State honors.

"West Virginia's offense was a big reason I picked them," the offensive-minded Sanders said. "That offense they run is very good."

While the St. Petersburg star had narrowed his final choices to West Virginia, South Florida and Ohio State, he had numerous other offers. According to Sanders, North Carolina State, Indiana, Southern Mississippi, Pittsburgh and Kentucky, among others, had made scholarship offers. Ohio State had not yet offered, but he believed one might have been forthcoming from the Buckeyes. That eventuality wasn't enough, however, to keep him from becoming a Mountaineer.

Now that Sanders has made his choice, he wants to help his St. Petersburg Catholic team come together as a group. His team is 1-1 on the year, with a loss to Trinity Christian, but Sanders believes that better things are ahead.

"We just have to jell as a team, and become more as one," he said. "We are doing o.k., but we can be much better."


The solidly-built Sanders, who plans to major in the business field, is already qualified. He is also a basketball player who might bypass his senior year on the court to prepare for the next step in his football career.

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Sanders was selected as the fifth-best senior in the five-county area surrounding Tampa and St.Petersburg prior to the start of the season.

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