On Thursday, Gainesville, Fla. offensive lineman Jordan Weingart of Buchholz High School became the latest high school standout to cast his lot with the Mountaineers.
West Virginia was the first school to offer the 6'2", 290-pound three-star prospect, and though he's grown up with his sights set on the hometown Florida Gators, Weingart felt a special connection with the Mountaineers from the time the moment that associate head coach/recruiting coordinator Doc Holliday first initiated contact on behalf of WVU. A trip to Morgantown for the April 19 Gold-Blue game only added to Weingart's positive impression, all of which made Thursday's early decision that much simpler.
"It was different from my talks with other schools," Weingart told BlueGoldNews.com in an exclusive interview on Thursday evening. "All the coaches were so nice, and really cared about me. It was just a different feeling when I was up there, with the coaches, the players. I loved it."
Making Weingart's decision to venture far from home even simpler is the fact that one of his good friends from high school is currently enrolled as an undergrad in Morgantown.
"I didn't know much about the Mountaineers before my friend went to school up there," he admitted. "When he got there, he kept telling me about West Virginia. He said they were better than the Florida Gators, and I didn't think there was any way that could happen, but then at the end of the season they were ranked ahead of (Florida)."
Add in a good relationship with lead recruiter Holliday which originated while the former Mountaineer linebacker coached at Florida, and suddenly, the thought of going to school more than 800 miles from home does not sound quite as daunting.
Weingart, who projects as a guard or center at the collegiate level, plans on coming to Morgantown in late June for a one-day rising senior camp. He had originally planned on spending the rest of his summer at various camps throughout the country hoping to elevate his recruiting profile, but now says those plans will not be necessary.
"I canceled those plans when I started getting really interested in going to West Virginia," he noted.
Instead, he'll awake at 7 a.m. for two hours of lifting, followed by 45 minutes of conditioning in preparation for his senior season. When the 2008 season finally does roll around, an official visit to West Virginia is likely in order, but rounding out his allotment of five official visit is not something the well-spoken lineman sounded interested in doing.
"I don't see a point to," he said. I kind of wanted to just get everything over early, because there were a lot of coaches starting to call me saying they had taken too long to start recruiting me, and I've been getting a lot of letters and phone calls. I just wanted to get it all over with."
In a day and age where recruits make announcements on national television, launch their own websites, and milk the attention they receive for everything they can, Weingart is a throwback.
"I know some people would love to get all of that attention, but I just want to be myself and concentrate on football."
And in the not too distant future, his football plans will include playing for a program he's still learning about, but has already fallen in love with.
"I haven't known them growing up like I've known a lot of other teams, but I'm really excited to get up there," he said. "I've been on YouTube plenty of times looking up Noel Devine highlights. We watched some of their highlights up at the spring game on a video. The offense looks great, and it looks like it will be tons of fun to play in."
NOTE: As far as academics are concerned, Weingart expects no trouble when it comes to qualifying. At the moment, he has his eyes set on majoring in business, with the hopes of one day taking over his father's construction business.