Positional Prospect

A Pennsylvania dual-threat player had an illuminating first trip to West Virginia on the school's junior day, and now has the Mountaineers firmly entrenched on his interest list.

Running back/defensive back Lance Straughters of Connellsville High School, had an eye-opening visit to West Virginia earlier this month.

"I didn't expect it to be that nice. And the coaches, I didn't know anything about them, either," he said of his thoughts prior to the visit. "The facilities were very nice, and I liked how everything that the players needed was at the football field. I really liked the coaching staff. Coach Rod was a really nice guy."

Straughters' experience was typical of a first-time visitor that doesn't know a great deal about West Virginia. Almost continuous facilities improvements over the last few years keep WVU's football complex among the best in the country – something that many first-timers don't know until they actually visit the campus.

Straughters' interest is returned by the Mountaineer coaching staff, which values players who can play more than one position – especially when one of those is running back. High schoolers with the quickness and skill to play that spot can often slot into other positions more easily, so that safety, cornerback, wide receiver and linebacker are often potential destinations for them. In Straughters' case, there's an additional bonus – he already plays and excels at a couple of those positions.

"I've played running back, wide receiver and defensive back in high school," he said. "When I first started on defense I was a free safety, and they moved me to corner last year. I'm pretty sure they will be moving me back to free safety this year, but I feel comfortable playing both positions. I can go wherever they ask me."

West Virginia hasn't indicated whether it is recruiting Straughters as an offensive or defensive player, but the rising senior thinks they might be looking at him as a defensive back. While that might seem to conflict with his playing preference -- "I do like playing on offense better. I like having my hands on the ball," he said – it hasn't stopped him from putting West Virginia high on his list of schools. He has also been invited to junior days at Pitt and Michigan State, and plans on attending those, and has also set a return visit to WVU for the Rich Rodriguez Football Camp in June. He also hopes to hear from Penn State and Iowa, which would set up a Big East/Big Ten recruiting battle when offers start to come in.

On the field, Straughters lists his speed and quickness as his primary weapons.

"I have good agility, and I can cover well on defense. And that helps me on offense in running the ball too."

Straughters doesn't have any offers yet, but that may be due in part to a shoulder injury he suffered near the end of his junior season. He is now fully recovered from that setback, and poised for a big senor season on both sides of the ball.

NOTE

Straughters is a three-sport performer at Connellsville. He plays basketball and runs the 100- and 200-meter dashes as well as the 4x100 and 4x400 relays.


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