Rising Talent

West Virginia's quest to improve its pass rush has resulted in several talented defensive ends on its recruiting radar. One of those is a precocious Floridian who is preparing for just his second season at the position.

Rangy Anthony Mains of Golden Gate High School in Naples, Fla., has played the position for just one full season, but in that short time has become an outstanding prospect. Last year, Mains recorded 66 tackles and nine sacks as a defensive end – impressive numbers for anyone at the spot. However, considering that it was his first year there, those stats become even more impressive.

"I used to be a quarterback and a tight end, but last year the coaches put me at defensive end," said Mains. "The first time I got a sack sold me on the position. That was a great feeling. I liked putting a hit on the quarterback. I'm still playing some tight end, but defense is where I'm being recruited."

West Virginia, which has pulled defensive linemen such as Pat Liebig from the Naples area, is now targeting Mains, who has plenty of room to grow into his six-foot, five-inch frame. He currently weighs 220 pounds, but hopes to add at least ten more before his senior season begins. The Mountaineers are currently battling a pair of home state schools, Florida and Central Florida, for a commitment, but Mains isn't expected to make that decision very soon.

"I'm not really ready to narrow it down right now," said Mains, who is carefully weighing the pros and cons of each of his favorites. "I am thinking about making a decision maybe two or three games into my senior season."

Mains, who is being recruited by WVU defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich, didn't know much about the Mountaineer program until he got word, along with an official scholarship offer letter. When he did, however, he began researching West Virginia and learning more about the program. He liked enough of what he learned to put WVU high on his list. Owing to the distance from home, he has not yet visited the West Virginia campus.

Despite his lack of experience at end, Mains has proved to be a quick study. He has the ability to defeat double teams and put good pressure on opposing quarterbacks. He's also a defensive playmaker, having forced two fumbles and recovering another pair while blocking a kick and a punt as a junior.

"I do consider myself a good pass rusher. I can put pressure on the quarterback from any defense we run," said Mains, whose Golden Gate team plays a variety of fronts. "We run a 3-5 defense a lot, and I am still able to get good pressure even with just three down linemen."

Mains, who holds a 4.1 GPA, earned first team All-Conference and All-Area honors as a junior. And with a year's experience under his belt, even greater things appear to be in store for him as a senior.

"I always think I have a lot to learn, but I think that for just playing end one year, I did pretty well," said Mains. "I am a quick learner. Pressuring the quarterback is my first priority in the defense, and I think I am good at that."

Mains has the typical goals of increasing his size and speed prior to his senior season, and has set a target of 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash as one of his priorities. Having clocked sub-4.8 second times already, Mains could be an even more intimidating force coming off the edge on the pass rush if he is able to improve his quickness.

Mains, who has visited Florida for a football camp, will also attend summer sessions at Auburn and South Florida.

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