Two-Sport Battle

West Virginia could be facing off in a recruiting battle with former head coach John Beilein, but there's a twist to the story in the efforts to get a commitment from this Pennsylvania standout.

Norwin High School's. Mike Shanahan is a two-sport standout in both basketball and football, and at the turn of 2007 had two different schools looking at him in both sports, with a number of others expressing serious interest. Akron, which has offered Shanahan a scholarship in both sports, is one, while West Virginia, which has made a football offer, is the other. The twist, of course, is in the fact that it was John Beilein, now the head coach at Michigan, who was expressing interest in Shanahan on the hardwood. Since he took his position with the Wolverines, Beilein has been in touch with Shanahan, and could well make him an offer. That would set up the unusual occurrence of the Mountaineer football staff recruiting against a former compatriot, albeit in a different sport, for Shanahan's services.

For his part, Shanahan hasn't thought a great deal about that circumstance, as he has a bigger decision in front of him. Which sport will he play in college?

"I think I will have to pick, because I don't think I can play both," Shanahan told BlueGoldNews.com "I will probably pick at the end of the summer. It will be a tough call, because I've played both football and basketball for a long time, and I love them both. I'm not leaning either way just yet. I will consider which one I think I have the chance to be better at, but in the end I have to follow my heart."

In the meantime, recruiters from both sports will certainly be working on Shanahan to pick their side of the house. Football coaches will likely point out that there are thousands of 6-5 basketball players, but not a great number of 6-5 wide receivers. Hoop coaches will point to his shooting ability and skill set that make him an outstanding swingman candidate who could fit several positions on the floor. Either way, the choice will be difficult.

On the football side, West Virginia hosted Shanahan for a visit on its junior day, which was the middle of three visits for the Pennsylvania native. He also attended the South Florida game last fall and a practice during the recently concluded spring session.

"I like the intensity of all the coaches, and he atmosphere of the college town," he said of his trips to WVU. "I like the fact that it's not a big city, that the school is a bigger part of the town.

"Coach Tony Gibson is my recruiting coach. He contacted me back in February right after he got the recruiting coordinator job. He talked to my coach and then I called him, and they offered me a scholarship. They are recruiting me as a wide receiver.

"I think my height and the fact that I am a physical receiver [are the things that attracted the offer]," Shanahan continued. "I have good hands, and I can out-physical people for the ball."

Shanahan has a few more chances to make catches than many high school receivers, as Norwin is very balanced between running and throwing the ball. However, he is not his team's only target.

"We have some other good receivers on the team," he said of Norwin's strength at wideout. "If they are doubling me, that's great for the other guys."

As Shanahan ponders his decision between the gridiron and hardwood, he will also take some camp trips and consider his opportunities in each sport. He is considering a trip to West Virginia for its one-day football camp, and has already visited Akron and Pitt. Additionally, he has interest from Penn State, Michigan State, Syracuse, Indiana, Northwestern and Toledo in football, and Duquesne, Ball State, Buffalo, and "most of the Patriot League" in basketball.

Shanahan, who currently stands 6-5 and weighs 200 pounds, would be an outside receiver at West Virginia. He had 35 catches for 695 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior. He has not heard from WVU in basketball since the coaching change.


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