Visit Season Underway

West Virginia will host several football recruits for its Saturday opener against Western Michigan, including a pair of Florida standouts that have the Mountaineers on their final list.

As reported by earlier this month, standout quarterback Star Jackson will be on campus for his final visit before making the announcement of his college choice on Labor Day. West Virginia appears to be trailing Alabama in this race, but getting the final visit is often a big factor in the recruiting game.

Jackson will be joined by teammate Joe Looney, a massive guard who earned first team all-area honors for his work on the line in front of Jackson last year. He will also visit Rutgers and Wake Forest, and has a tentative visit set for Louisville. WVU will take at least one more offensive lineman in this class, and although tackle remains a top priority, Looney is likely too good to pass up.

One tackle that is due for the game is John Glenn High School's Joe Pachuta, who has the prototypical lineman's frame of six feet, seven inches and 290 pounds. On the other side of the ball, Greencastle-Antrim's Jared Smith will give the Mountaineer program a look. He is a defensive tackle who could be a defensive end in the West Virginia system.

Another intriguing prospect schedule to visit is Columbus, Ohio native Justin Thompson. Thompson is a wide receiver and tight end prospect whose current build would make him either a big wideout or a speedy tight end in college. His frame suggests he could easily grow into the latter position, thus

Perkiomen Valley (Pa.) running back Derrick Jones, who has long had West Virginia on his list, is also slated to make the westward trip to take in the Western Michigan game. Jones, who attends the same high school as former Mountaineer All-American Grant Wiley, gained 980 yards and scored nine touchdowns in just eight games as a junior.

At least one or two verbal commitments are usually scheduled for visits for each home game, and their presence serves a dual purpose. Their continued recruitment and opportunity to see the WVU program on a game weekend is one, but they also help recruit those players such as Jackson and Looney, who are still working on their decisions. This week, linemen John Bassler and Joey Madsen make up that group. Also on hand, as he is expected to be for most games this year, is grayshirting defensive lineman Junius Lewis.

Although he still has yet to finalize his choice, Parkersburg offensive lineman Josh Jenkins will again make WVU his weekend base of operations. Jenkins, who is on WVU's campus only slightly less frequently than the 27,000 students already enrolled, certainly has the Mountaineers in his thoughts.

Finally, kicker/punter Jerry Phillips of Clyde High School in Ohio is scheduled to take in the action in Morgantown. Phillips has a strong leg, and an improvement in his consistency could result in some scholarship offers.

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